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'Stop obsessing' on timing of second Scottish independence vote, Sturgeon says

File photo dated 29/6/2016 of thousands of Remain supporters gather outside the Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh, to show their support for the European Union in the wake of Brexit. The Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said a new independence referendum should be held between autumn 2018 and spring 2019. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday March 13, 2017. See PA story POLITICS Brexit Scotland. Photo credit should read: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

Nicola Sturgeon has said people should "stop obsessing" about when the next Scottish independence referendum will take place.

Speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, she said: "Let's stop obsessing all the time about when we might get the chance to vote on independence again.

"Instead, let's engage people in the substantive arguments. Let's address people who still ask the question why should Scotland be independent."

She reiterated that "uncertainty" around Brexit means no decision should currently be made on the timing of a further ballot on Scottish independence.

Ms Sturgeon had previously called for a second independence referendum after the Brexit vote, which saw almost two-thirds of people north of the border vote to stay part of the European Union.

But she pulled back from that after last year's snap general election, which saw the SNP lose 21 of the seats it had won in Westminster two years before.

She also warned that the EU Withdrawal Bill, which is heading back to the House of Commons on Tuesday, is "unconstitutional" as it stands and she is writing to Commons Speaker John Bercow asking for a vote on the issue of the Scottish Parliament refusing to grant consent for the legislation.

"This is quite an important issue of principle. This is not about giving the Scottish Parliament new powers or extra powers, it is simply about safeguarding the powers we already have," she said.

"Based on the conventions that underpin the devolution settlement not just in Scotland but in Wales and Northern Ireland as well, it is unconstitutional."

In a later appearance on Sky's Ridge On Sunday programme, Ms Sturgeon said she believes there will be a second referendum on independence while she is First Minister.

She then hit out at Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, saying he is not fit to hold high office.

Ms Sturgeon said: "I don't think Boris Johnson should be anywhere near a government office. He must be one of the least fit people to hold a high office of state that we've ever seen."

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