A Bill for a second independence referendum will be published by the Scottish Government within days, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.
She told delegates at the SNP conference in Glasgow that an Independence Referendum Bill is to be published for consultation by her Government next week.
She also used her opening speech to send a firm message to UK Prime Minister Theresa May, telling her: “If you think for one single second that I’m not serious about doing what it takes to protect Scotland’s interests, then think again.
“If you can’t – or won’t – allow us to protect our interests within the UK, then Scotland will have the right to decide, afresh, if it wants to take a different path.”
Almost two-thirds of Scots voted to Remain part of the European Union, and Sturgeon told Tory leader May: “Scotland didn’t choose to be in this situation – your party put us here.”
While Scots rejected independence in the referendum in September 2014, the SNP leader said in the run-up to that vote Westminster leaders had insisted Scotland was “an equal partner in the UK”.
But in the wake of the European referendum in June, she said the moment has now come to prove it.
Sturgeon told the conference: “I am determined that Scotland will have the ability to reconsider the question of independence – and to do so before the UK leaves the EU – if that is necessary to protect our country’s interests.
“So I can confirm today that the Independence Referendum Bill will be published for consultation next week.”
Meanwhile, bookies rate the chances of a second Independence Referendum before the end of 2024 as odds on and are offering just 1/3 on another vote with 9/4 available for those who don’t believe it will happen.
However, they are less sure of the outcome with the book evenly split with William Hill offering odds of 10/11 that the vote will be in favour of Independence and the same odds that it will be against.