Scotland politics

Sturgeon 'doesn't know' when she will call indyref2

Nicola Sturgeon Image copyright Reuters

Nicola Sturgeon has said she does not know when she will call another referendum on Scottish independence.

The first minister shelved plans for a referendum after her party lost 21 seats at the general election.

She has now told the New Statesman that she would "come back when things are clearer and decide whether we want to do it and in what timescale".

Ms Sturgeon had previously insisted another referendum remained likely before 2021.

But when pressed on when a future referendum might be held, Ms Sturgeon told the magazine: "The honest answer to that is, I do not know."

Ms Sturgeon acknowledged that "people feel very uncertain about everything just now, partly because the past few years have been one big decision after another".

Second EU referendum

She added: "That's why I said before recess that I will not consider any further the question of a second referendum at this stage.

"I'm saying, OK, people are not ready to decide we will do that, so we have to come back when things are clearer and decide whether we want to do it and in what timescale."

Ms Sturgeon also said the case for a second referendum on the European Union was hard to resist, warning that the Brexit process was a "complete and utter car crash".

Before the 2014 independence referendum the Scottish government published a detailed White Paper paper setting out its position on what would happen if there was a Yes vote, but Ms Sturgeon said "that was not the case in the EU referendum".

She said: "The very fact that we have no idea what the final outcome might look like suggests there is a case for a second referendum that I think there wasn't in 2014. It may become very hard to resist."

'Human connection'

Ms Sturgeon also offered further hints that the Scottish government could use its powers to raise taxes for higher earners, saying there was a case for those with the "broadest shoulders paying a little bit more".

And she said Theresa May's election gamble demonstrated the prime minister did not have the personality "capable of carrying a campaign".

The SNP leader said the election had given the public the chance to see the prime minister in the same way she had in their meetings, adding it was "impossible to get any human connection" with Mrs May.

She said: "The Theresa May that the country ended up seeing in the election was the one I've been dealing with for however long she's been prime minister.

"This is a woman who sits in meetings where it's just the two of you and reads from a script."

It was "very frustrating", Ms Sturgeon said, and the pair lacked the "personal rapport" the first minister had with David Cameron.