Sturgeon puts a pause on second referendum

Scottish referendum
Nicola Sturgeon's hopes for a second Scottish Referendum were dealt a blow.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has backtracked on plans for a second Scottish independence referendum after her party’s defeat in the snap election.

Sturgeon said that there was clearly a lack of interest in another referendum and she would not push for one before a Brexit deal was agreed.

“My responsibility as first minister is to build as much unity and consensus as possible,” she told MSPs. “We face a Brexit that we didn’t vote for and in a form more extreme than any of us could have imagined one year ago.”

She instead will “reset” her strategy.

The Scottish Independence Party lost 21 of its 56 Westminster seats in the general election whilst total support fell by 470,000 votes.

Sturgeon said that she had been told “hundreds” of times through conversations since June’s election that people were worried about the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, and wanted a break from making big political decisions. 

“I want to reassure people that our proposal is not for a referendum now, or before there is sufficient clarity about the options.” said Sturgeon.

“But rather to give them a choice at the end of the Brexit process, when that clarity has emerged.

“I am therefore confirming today that having listened and reflected, the Scottish government will reset the plan I set out on 13 March.

“We will not seek to introduce the legislation for an independence referendum immediately. Instead, we will, in good faith, redouble our efforts and put our shoulders to the wheel in seeking to influence the Brexit talks in a way that protects Scotland’s interests.”

The First Minister said that independence “may well be the only way to protect Scotland from the impact of Brexit” but insisted the case for independence “goes far beyond that”.

“We must persuade the majority in Scotland of that. We have not done that yet but I have no doubt that we can,” she continued.