Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says she will postpone plans for a second independence Referendum until after negotiations over Britain's exit from the European Union have concluded next year. Sturgeon made the announcement in the Scottish parliament on Tuesday, saying that she was putting on hold her plans to introduce legislation that would demand a second referendum until autumn 2018 when Brexit terms are supposedly clear.
"The Scottish government remains committed strongly to the principle of giving Scotland a choice at the end of this [Brexit] process but I want to reassure people that our proposal is not for a referendum now, or before there is sufficient clarity about the options, but rather to give them a choice at the end of the Brexit process when that clarity has emerged,” Sturgeon said.
"We will not seek to introduce the legislation for an independence referendum immediately," she added. "The Scottish government will reset the plan I set out."
Leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) noted that the “uncertainty” of the Brexit process is now her priority and her party is focused on getting “the best deal out of Brexit - the best deal for Scotland.”
“Instead, we will – in good faith – redouble our efforts and put our shoulder to the wheel in seeking to influence the Brexit talks in a way that protects Scotland’s interests,” she noted.
The pro-independence Scottish Greens called on the SNP leader not to back down on her bid to have a second referendum and to "continue fighting" for another vote on the issue.
British Prime Minister Theresa May (Photo by AFP)
Talks of a new referendum gained momentum following a spat between Britain and Scotland over the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
Although nearly 52 percent of Britons opted to leave the bloc during the EU referendum in June last year, some 62 percent of the Scottish people voted against the decision.
Sturgeon’s calls for an independence vote have been firmly rejected by British Prime Minister Theresa May, who argues Scots have already taken a shot at secession and failed.
Scotland held its first referendum in 2014, when over 55 percent of the people voted against independence.