Nicola Sturgeon vows to press on with IndyRef2 after Tory 'humiliation'
Nicola Sturgeon has said Scotland and the rest of the UK are on "very different political paths" as the Scottish Government prepares to set out plans for a fresh independence referendum.
And the First Minister rejected claims of a "deceitful" approach by opponents who claim the SNP campaigned in the Euro elections on platform of rejecting Brexit - then took their sweeping victory as a mandate for independence.
The Scottish Government's Constitutional Relations Secretary Mike Russell is expected to publish a Bill on Wednesday setting out the rules for a second independence referendum before attempting to secure the power to hold a vote from Westminster.
"I set out prior to this election campaign my intentions to give people a choice on independence.
"What the election demonstrated and re-iterated if you like is that Scotland and the rest of the UK are on very different political paths.
"If we don't want to have a future imposed on us as a country then we we must have the opportunity to choose our own future.
"That's the choice I want to give to the people of Scotland later in this term of Parliament."
A referendum will require Section 30 order from the next Tory leader, transferring the power to Holyrood, but this won't stop the Scottish Government pushing ahead with the legislation. Mr
The First Minister also rejected claims that she had played down the independence issue before the EU elections - then seized on the result to push for this.
She added: "I set out, before we even knew there was going to be a European election, my intentions around bringing forward a bill to put in place the rules around a referendum and giving people in Scotland the choice later in this term of Parliament.
"I think every interview I did during the European elections I re-iterated this intention.
"Of course I also said to anyone in Scotland who opposed Brexit to make sure that we sent a unified message and that's what many people chose to do.
"But actually it was the Tories who tried to make this election about independence.
"They said they wanted people to send me a message that they didn't want another independence referendum and the Tories struggled to poll 12%. That's an utter humilitatoin for a party and Tory leader who have nothing positive to say."
But Scottish Conservative constitution spokesman Adam Tomkins said Ms Sturgeon used the EU elections to manufacture the case for a second independence referendum.
"No matter what people in Scotland say or do, the SNP’s answer is always the same – to take us out of the UK," he said.
“When will she listen? Only one in five people in Scotland say they want a referendum under Nicola Sturgeon’s absurd timetable. People have had enough.
“The Scottish Conservatives will always stand up to oppose Nicola Sturgeon’s independence obsession, and say no to more division and uncertainty. It is time we all moved on.
“This latest stunt is all about Nicola Sturgeon pandering to her party, not speaking for the country."