Nicola Sturgeon pledges to 'restart debate' on Scottish independence

She says any question of a second referendum would only be addressed when "we get some clarity" on Brexit

Nicola Sturgeon pledges to 'restart debate' on Scottish independence

Nicola Sturgeon. Picture by: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire/PA Images

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has pledged to 'restart a debate' about Scottish independence in the next few weeks.

An independence referendum in 2014 was rejected by the Scottish electorate by 55.3% to 44.7%.

Mrs Sturgeon, the leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP), had previously floated the prospect of a second independence referendum in the wake of the Brexit vote - with Scotland having voted against leaving the EU.

However, Mrs Sturgeon put the plans on hold after her party lost seats in the UK's 2017 general election.

Speaking on ITV's Peston on Sunday, Mrs Sturgeon said: "Once we get some clarity, which hopefully we will in the autumn of this year, about the Brexit outcome and the future relationship between the UK and the EU then I will consider again this question of the timing of an independence referendum.

"I'm not going to say more about that in advance of that moment arising. But of course over the next couple of weeks we will, I suppose, restart a debate about why independence for Scotland is an opportunity and what those opportunities are."

She added: "What I think Scotland now has the opportunity to do is look at how we seize the opportunities that lie ahead, so a debate based very much on ambition and hope not a debate that's based on despair, which is how the Brexit debate so often feels."

'Blueprint for independence'

Her comments come ahead of the publication of a report by the SNP's 'growth commission', which will examine how an independent Scottish economy would work.

A report in the Scotsman newspaper today suggests that an upcoming 'blueprint for independence' from the SNP party will recommend a gradual move towards a new Scottish currency in the event of a successful independence vote.

Ruth Davidson, the leader of the Scottish Conservative party, has said the 'threat of separation' has not gone away.

Writing in the Financial Times, she suggested: "The SNP is in power north of the border and will use that clout to drive a wedge between Scotland and the rest of the country.

"So we unionists must work hard to bolster our case for the union." 

Additional reporting by IRN