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Scotland should not have a second vote on independence before Brexit negotiations are completed, the prime minister has said.

Speaking in an interview with the BBC, Theresa May said:

Now is not the time, because if we were to put energies into that – just think about it, we want people to be coming together, working together because that’s the best opportunity we’ve got to get the right deal for Scotland, the right deal for the UK as we’re negotiating with the European Union.

On Monday, Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon called for a vote on independence by spring 2019. She said Mrs May’s government had refused to compromise in response to calls for a special deal on Brexit for Scotland, which voted by a large majority to remain in the EU.

However, Mrs May said it wouldn’t be “fair” for the people of Scotland to be asked to vote before knowing the terms of the UK’s EU exit. She said “they would be being asked to make a crucial decision without the information they need to make that decision”.

The prime minister’s comments echo the view set out by Ruth Davidson, the leader of the Conservative party in Scotland, earlier today. Ms Davidson said her party will reject the proposal for a vote in the Scottish parliament, saying “a referendum cannot happen when the people of Scotland have not been given the opportunity to see how our new relationship with the European Union is working”.

The SNP leads a minority government in Scotland but its proposal to begin negotiations with the UK government is expected to pass with the support of the Scottish Greens.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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