Sturgeon condemns Downing Street vow to reject independence vote request
A move to block a second independence referendum would be a "democratic outrage", Nicola Sturgeon has said.
Downing Street is to reject calls for another vote before Brexit after Theresa May said "now is not the time".
The Prime Minister's position was confirmed by Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, who said Ms Sturgeon's timetable for a referendum - between autumn 2018 and spring 2019 - would be "rejected conclusively".
The First Minister said: "If the Prime Minister refuses to engage on the terms of a referendum before Brexit takes place then she is effectively trying to block the people of Scotland having a choice over their future. That would be a democratic outrage.”
"It is for the Scottish Parliament - not Downing Street - to determine the timing of a referendum, and the decision of the Scottish Parliament must be respected.”
"It would be outrageous for the Scottish Parliament to be frozen out of the process.”
"The Scottish Government has a cast-iron democratic mandate to offer people a choice and that mandate must be fulfilled."
Ms Sturgeon wants a referendum to coincide with the conclusion of the Brexit talks - the point at which she says the terms of the UK's deal to leave the EU will become clear.
MSPs will vote next week on whether they will support her request for a section 30 order from Westminster, which would be needed for Holyrood to hold a legally binding ballot.
But in an interview for ITV news, Mrs May said: ''Right now we should be working together, not pulling apart.”
''We should be working together to get that right deal for Scotland, that right deal for the UK, as I say that's my job as Prime Minister and so for that reason I say to the SNP: now is not the time."
She added that to be "talking about an independence referendum will, I think, make it more difficult for us to be able to get the right deal for Scotland, and the right deal for the UK".
She said: ''More than that I think it wouldn't be fair to the people of Scotland because they'd be asked to make a crucial decision without the necessary information, without knowing what the future partnership will be or what the alternative for an independent Scotland would look like."
But Mrs Sturgeon defended her plans to stage a second referendum on independence, insisting she has a "duty" to offer Scots an alternative to a "disastrous" hard Tory Brexit.
"The reality here is quite simple, I want to give people in Scotland a choice over their own future,” she said.
"We know that change is coming, the EU referendum last year made that change inevitable.”
“We know that the Tories want to lead us off a hard Brexit cliff-edge.”
"I think the people of Scotland should not simply have to accept being told what their future should be by a Conservative Government that we don't support.”
“We should have the choice to choose a better future, and that's a choice I intend to give to the people of Scotland."