Nicola Sturgeon is “likely” to break her silence on her plans for a second independence referendum before the Scottish Parliament breaks up next week for its summer break, her spokesman has said.
With the SNP teetering on the brink of civil war of whether a referendum should be taken off the table, the First Minister led a discussion of the Scottish Cabinet yesterday on independence .
Ms Sturgeon was accused of being “in denial” after the previous week’s Cabinet, the first after the SNP’s General Election mauling, when her ministers failed to mention her referendum plans.
A massive public backlash against her proposals saw the SNP lose nearly half a million votes compared to the 2015 elections and 21 MPs, including Alex Salmond and Angus Robertson.
The First Minister has said she was “reflecting” on the result and would not be rushed, but a series of high-profile Nationalists have since broken cover with conflicting views on what they should do next.
Several have urged her to abandon her Spring 2019 timetable for another vote, with Tommy Sheppard, the Edinburgh East MP, arguing she should not even decide whether to hold another referendum until the Brexit talks are complete.
Confirming the Scottish Cabinet discussions, Ms Sturgeon’s spokesman said: “That forms part of the process she laid out after the election and she will continue to consult with Government and party colleagues, and will lay out her views on the way forward in due course.”
Asked if this would be before Holyrood breaks up for the summer recess at the close of business on Thursday next week, he said “it is likely before then” but there was no “exact timetable.”
Jackson Carlaw, the Scottish Tory deputy leader, welcomed Ms Sturgeon breaking her silence but said: “She now has to tell Scots what they want and need to hear – that plans for a second referendum on independence are unequivocally off the table.”