Holyrood backs Nicola Sturgeon's call for second referendum
The Scottish Parliament has backed Nicola Sturgeon's call for the powers to hold a second independence referendum.
MSPs voted 69 to 59 to mandate the First Minister to seek permission from the UK Government for a ballot to be held between autumn 2018 and spring 2019.
Ms Sturgeon's minority Scottish Government won the vote following an extended debate thanks to support from the Scottish Greens.
But Prime Minister Theresa May has already said she will block another referendum while the Brexit process takes place, stating "now is not the time".
Ms Sturgeon said she would delay making the section 30 request - the mechanism for the transfer of powers to hold the referendum - until ''later this week''.
She said she ''hoped the UK Government would respect the will of the Scottish Parliament'', but if it does not she will set out her next steps after the Easter recess.
Ms Sturgeon said: "It is now the will of Scotland's democratically-elected national Parliament that discussions should begin with the UK Government to enable an independence referendum to be held.”
"Today's vote must now be respected. The mandate for a referendum is beyond question, and it would be democratically indefensible - and utterly unsustainable - to attempt to stand in the way of it.”