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Scottish independence vote 'next step's not expected until after General Election

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, in the main chamber of the Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh, during the debate against the UK Government's so-called "rape clause" for tax credits. Picture by Jane Barlow, Press Association 
Katrine Bussey, Press Association

NICOLA Sturgeon is likely to delay a statement on the "next steps" towards a second Scottish independence referendum until after the General Election.

The Scottish first minister has still to give an update to MSPs at Holyrood on how she is to take forward plans to hold a fresh ballot on leaving the UK.

A spokesman for Ms Sturgeon said she initially proposed doing it after the Scottish local authority elections on May 4, but that was before British prime minister Theresa May decided to hold a snap General Election on June 8.

He stated: "Initial thinking had been to do it after the local elections, we now obviously have another election to factor in, so it would be reasonable to expect it to be some time after the UK election."

It comes after Ms Sturgeon was attacked by her rivals after she said the General Election was not about independence

She told STV: "This election is not deciding whether or not Scotland is independent."

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said the SNP leader risked becoming a "laughing stock", saying: "For the last few months, everyone in Scotland has seen her do nothing else but campaign for an unwanted second independence referendum.

"Yet now there's an election on, she suddenly tells people independence isn't the issue for her and orders her troops - don't mention the 'i' word.

"After the last few months of talking about nothing else, who does she think she's kidding?"

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: "Nicola Sturgeon has lost the plot.

"For months she has been having a tantrum - demanding that Scots have another independence referendum so we could stay in Europe. When support dropped she got cold feet.

"First she watered down her EU policy to keep Brexit supporters on board. Now she is backing off independence to stop her party shedding votes in the general election. This is a party in disarray."

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