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Scottish government shelves plans for second independence referendum

Posted June 27

Scottish National Party (SNP) leader Nicola Sturgeon is putting her plans for a second independence referendum on ice until after Brexit negotiations have concluded.

"It is just too soon right now to make a firm decision about the precise timing of a referendum," Sturgeon said.

The Scottish First Minister had outlined a timetable for another vote -- known colloquially as indyref2 -- to be held at some point between autumn 2018 and spring 2019, citing the uncertainty surrounding Britain's departure from the European Union.

Calls for a second poll emerged in the wake of 2015's Brexit referendum, which Scottish voters overwhelmingly rejected but will be forced to accept as long as they remain part of the UK.

But after the SNP's poor showing in the UK general election earlier this month -- in which it lost 21 seats across the country -- Sturgeon appears to have had a change of heart.

Addressing the issue of Scotland's future in the Edinburgh Parliament on Tuesday, Sturgeon said she would "reset" her plan and would not be seeking a new referendum "in the immediate future."

She underlined her comments saying that the party remains "committed strongly" to giving Scotland a say on its future once a departure deal has been finalized.

"And at the end of this period of negotiation with the EU -- likely to be around next autumn -- when the terms of Brexit will be clearer, we will come back to Parliament to set out our judgment on the way forward, including our view on the precise timescale of offering people a choice over the country's future," she said.

Putting Scotland's interests first

Sturgeon said her focus would instead be redirected towards influencing "the Brexit talks in a way that protects Scotland's interests."

"We will seek to build maximum support around the proposals set out in the paper that we published in December -- Scotland's Place in Europe -- to keep us in the single market, with substantial new powers for this Parliament, and do everything we can to influence the UK in that direction."

Should Scotland revisit the issue of independence at a later date, its parliament will once again need to seek approval from the UK government to hold a vote.

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