Nicola Sturgeon on Scottish referendum

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Last quote by Nicola Sturgeon on Scottish referendum

People want clarity about Brexit first. We respect that. We may not yet know exactly when the choice will be made. But we can, we must, and we will always make the case for independence. There is a better future to be had for all of us, if we chose to build it, together. I am sick to the back teeth of British nationalists perpetuating the myth that Scotland could not afford to thrive in the world as an independent nation. They "pay for the support that our businesses need to thrive just as they do for our health service and our schools.feedback
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Oct 10 2017
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All quotes by Nicola Sturgeon on Scottish referendum

The Scottish government will work with interested local authorities to fund research into the concept and feasibility of a citizen's basic income to help to inform Parliament's thinking for the future.feedback

I said in June there will be no further consideration of a timing of a referendum until the end of the Brexit process. I'm saying now I think we have an opportunity to look at other areas where we agree; it's up to other parties where they want to meet us halfway on that but I'm certainly saying that we're willing to do that. In a democracy you should be able to respect people's different opinions and still find where there's agreement. Sometimes the national interest says put aside what you disagree on and come together on what you agree on.feedback

Twenty years ago we proved we could put differences aside to build a better democracy, a better economy and a better society. It's time to go forward in that spirit again, not to allow ourselves to be blinded by our disagreements but to explore, identify and advance our areas of agreement instead.feedback

We also have a responsibility to everybody in our country to make sure that, as we go into the next decade and beyond, we not only protect the public services that all of us depend on but ensure that our nurses, doctors, police officers and firefighters are well rewarded.feedback

The programme that I have set out today and the legislation is fresh, bold and ambitious, and because of that aspects of it will undoubtedly be controversial. That is inevitable – indeed it is necessary. No-one has ever built a better country by always taking the easy option.feedback

So the time is right, in my view, to open a discussion about how responsible and progressive use of our tax powers could help build the kind of country we want to be – one with the highest-quality public services, well-rewarded public servants, good support for business, a strong social contract and effective policies to tackle poverty and inequality.feedback

We know that continued Westminster austerity, the consequences of Brexit and the impact of demographic changes will put increasing pressure on our public services and on our ability to provide the infrastructure and support that our businesses need to thrive.feedback

I accept that Scotland's economy has challenges and [I] always have done. Yes, Scotland has a deficit and it's a deficit we want to see reduced to sustainable levels. This reflects Scotland's position under current constitutional arrangements. Of course, if Scotland is independent, getting that deficit down to sustainable levels would be the responsibility of an independent Scottish government with the challenges which are inherent in that.feedback

The word is difficult. If I could turn the clock back, what 90 years, to the establishment of my party, and choose its name all over again, I wouldn't choose the name it has got just now, I would call it something other than the Scottish National Party. Now people say why don't you change its name now? Well that would be far too complicated. Because what those of us who do support Scottish independence are all about could not be further removed from some of what you would recognise as nationalism in other parts of the world.feedback

I have fantasies, about doing that at press conferences.feedback

But I think people would also appreciate that it wasn't a particularly easy situation for the party to be in either.feedback

I regret very much that we were confronted with a situation where one of our newly-elected MPs was facing serious allegations - of course I regret that. It wasn't a situation of my making, it wasn't a situation clearly I would have chosen to be in. And I appreciate that what followed on that, the investigation that took place, was not easy for Michelle Thomson and it wouldn't have been easy for anyone in that situation.feedback

This is an opportunity to brief Mr Barnier on Scotland's priorities and seek to enhance our understanding of current EU position as Brexit negotiations continue. This is not about holding separate Scottish negotiations – we have always accepted that the EU will only negotiate with UK, which is why we will continue to work hard to influence the UK position.feedback

The Scottish government remains committed strongly to the principle of giving Scotland a choice at the end of this [Brexit] process but I want to reassure people that our proposal is not for a referendum now, or before there is sufficient clarity about the options, but rather to give them a choice at the end of the Brexit process when that clarity has emerged. We will not seek to introduce the legislation for an independence referendum immediately. The Scottish government will reset the plan I set out.feedback

The implications of Brexit are so potentially far reaching that, as they become clearer, I think people will increasingly demand that choice (on secession). We face a Brexit we did not vote for, and in a form more extreme than most would have imagined just one year ago. The Scottish government remains committed strongly to the principle of giving Scotland a choice at the end of this process but I want to reassure people that our proposal is not for a referendum now, or before there is sufficient clarity about the options.feedback

We will not seek to introduce the legislation for an independence referendum immediately. Instead, we will – in good faith – redouble our efforts and put our shoulder to the wheel in seeking to influence the Brexit talks in a way that protects Scotland's interests. At the end of this period of negotiation with the EU – likely to be around next autumn – when the terms of Brexit will be clearer, we will come back to parliament to set out our judgment on the best way forward at that time, including our view on the precise timescale for offering people a choice over the country's future.feedback

Brexit will change Scotland and the UK fundamentally - and an extreme Brexit, such as the one the UK government still seems intent on pursuing, will maximise the damage. But the immediate priority for action is to work with anyone and everyone - including the UK government, and other political parties - to ensure that the UK as a whole adopts the least damaging approach possible. The UK government placed a great deal of emphasis on restricting freedom of movement. That seems to be the key reason why it is not pursuing single market membership.feedback

In what is a very unstable situation for the UK Government, it is essential that time is taken to secure a consensus over the approach to Brexit negotiations. The Tories hard Brexit plan has been rejected and we cannot allow the Brexit negotiations to become hostage to the inability of either the Tories or Labour to command a clear majority. It is imperative that we now build a cross party, all government approach to Brexit that will protect all of our interests at this highly uncertain time.feedback

Now that the Queen's Speech has been postponed, questions have been raised about what has been cooked up behind closed doors and is it possible for this Prime Minister – notwithstanding what she said on Friday – to put together a Government that is functional and sustainable. It is an opportunity, perhaps – I know the arithmetic, I am not blind to the hurdles – but it perhaps means an opportunity for a progressive alternative to a Tory/DUP government.feedback

As a first step it is now imperative that the UK Government takes a short pause before beginning negotiations to work with others to put together a new position - one that is truly based on the interests of the whole of the UK. And at the heart of this position must be maintaining our place in the single market and in the customs union. That is where common ground lies. The SNP and the Scottish Government are ready to begin discussions around such a position immediately and I call on all parties to come together to build a new way forward.feedback

The strongest possible position in the Brexit negotiations will be one that is backed by all parties and all governments across the UK. As a first step it is now imperative that the UK Government takes a short pause before beginning negotiations to work with others to put together a new position – one that is truly based on the interests of the whole of the UK. The Tory position on Brexit does not carry popular support, is not backed by all four nations of the UK or a majority of MPs and any attempt to continue with it will be disastrous for Scotland and for Britain.feedback

Undoubtedly the issue of an independence referendum was a factor in this election result but I think there were other factors as well, so I will reflect on that and come to considered judgements. Rushing to overly-simplistic judgments too quickly is not the right thing to do.feedback

Undoubtedly the issue of an independence referendum was a factor in this election result, but I think there were other factors in this election result as well. We will reflect on these results, we will listen to voters and we will consider very carefully the best way forward for Scotland. We will work with others if it is at all possible to keep the Tories out of government. We stand ready to play our part in that alliance. And it is needed now more than ever.feedback

A vote tomorrow for Labour or the Liberal Democrats, parties who are third and fourth position in Scotland, risks doing one thing and one thing only – splitting the anti-Tory vote and allowing a Tory MP in the back door. Let us not take that risk tomorrow.feedback

I think in all honesty none of us actually know at the moment. Theresa May has said explicitly – and I readily concede there's a lot of scepticism about this – but she has said that that will be before the UK exits in spring 2019. Which is why I have talked in that time frame. If it takes longer than that, then it will be longer than that before we are at the end of the Brexit process.feedback

You get from Whitehall a sort of nodding of the head, recognising the problem, but a brick wall when it comes to any kind of contemplating this solution. I think almost regardless of the outcome, [May is] going to come out of this election weakened. I can't believe that she's doing anything other right now than wishing she hadn't called the election in the first place. If you are asking me what people who want to defeat a Tory government should do then look at how best to defeat a Tory MP.feedback

Approval ratings go up and down for leaders … they compare favourably to any UK leader right now whether that's May, Corbyn, any of the Scottish leaders.feedback

Now OK, we're miles apart politically but then so too were David Cameron and I, but we still managed to find a way of working that respected each other's positions. We found a way of being civil. You literally go into a one to one with her and it's like she's reading from a script than having a conversation. If it takes longer than that, then it will be longer than that before we are at the end of the Brexit process. I think in all honesty none of us actually know at the moment. Once you know the terms of the relationship. It has got to be an informed choice for people.feedback

I don't think it's right for any politician to dictate to a country what its future should be. I think that should be a choice for the people of Scotland. You said you want to be judged on education so on that basis shouldn't you resign?feedback

If there was to be a hung parliament, if the parliamentary arithmetic allowed it, then I would want the SNP to be part of a progressive alternative to a Conservative government. Not in a coalition, I don't envisage any formal coalitions, but on an issue-by-issue basis to put forward progressive policies and to see a progressive agenda. My reading of the polls says that Theresa May and the Tories are still on the track to win this election.feedback

We see some parties in this election, not least Labour, putting forward policies the SNP have already implemented in Scotland. If we are in that scenario, and I'm sceptical that we will be in that scenario … it means the electorate has decided that it doesn't want either of the two main UK parties to govern with a free hand.feedback

What matters to me is that the SNP wins this election, and the SNP are the best part of 20 points ahead of our nearest rivals. My concern is the SNP winning the election. I'm focused on the SNP winning the election. As long as the SNP stays ahead and we win this election, that is what I'm focused on. Whether or not she increases her majority could come down to the outcome in Scotland.There's an opportunity therefore for Scotland to hold a Tory majority in check.feedback

But the key point of principle for me is clarity at the end of the process which allows people to make a genuinely informed choice about the future of our country.feedback

If the SNP wins a majority of Scottish seats in this election, that will further reinforce our mandate. In these circumstances, any continued Tory attempts to block Scotland having a choice - when the time is right and the options are clear - would be democratically unsustainable. That is why I believe so strongly that at the end of the Brexit process - not now, but when the terms of the deal are known - Scotland must have a choice about our future; a choice between following the UK down the Brexit path or becoming an independent country.feedback

The Tories' plans have nothing to do with strong public finances and are all about their desire to cut benefits, cut pensions and shrink our public services like the NHS and the police . It is only the SNP that can keep the Tories in check.feedback

If the SNP win the election on June 8 in Scotland, and I am taking nothing for granted, ... then I think that position of the prime minister is unsustainable. In politics positions quickly become unsustainable and we have seen in the last few days ... this is not a prime minister who is very good at holding positions under pressure. She is a prime minister that has seemed to perfect the art of the U-turn.feedback

If the SNP win the election having won the Scottish election last year on the strength of a manifesto commitment that was very clear, and in the interim the Scottish Parliament having backed that, then I think that position of the Prime Minister is unsustainable. You know what, we should be. In politics, positions quickly become unsustainable and we've seen in the last few days that this is not a Prime Minister who is very good at holding position when she feels it's under pressure. She's a Prime Minister that has seemed to perfect the art of the u-turn.feedback

She made a mistake, an honest mistake, and she apologised for that. In terms of the wider social media reaction, I don't think it's acceptable to make judgements about somebody's background. The nurse on the debate last night was absolutely entitled to raise the issue that she did and, as I said, she raised an issue that I think is one of the biggest in this campaign, the level and value of real wages, not just in the public sector but in the private sector.feedback

At this election we can send the SNP a message they can't ignore and with your help we can stop them and in so doing we can get back to the issues that really matter. [Ruth Davidson] says I talk about nothing else, the truth is she talks so much about independence that I can't get a word in edgeways about it. Ruth Davidson is using independence as a smokescreen in this campaign because she knows the Tory record and Tory policies are toxic.feedback

Tory MPs from Scotland will be rubber-stamps for whatever Theresa May wants them to do, so if we want to have strong voices of opposition standing up for Scotland given the big challenges that lie ahead, then we need to make sure that there are SNP voices doing that.feedback

S no getting away. Every poll that's published in Scotland shows that the SNP is on course to win this election and win it comprehensively. The Tories are doing better, there's no getting away from that. They're doing better largely at the expense of Labour. What we've seen over the past few years in Scotland is a collapse in the Labour vote - much of it has turned to the SNP - we're now seeing Labour lose a lot of its remaining support to the Conservatives.feedback

Over the past 10 years we have worked every day to make Scotland a better country. And we have made real progress to be proud of. The SNP has only reached the milestone of 10 years in government because we have worked hard - each and every day - to repay the trust of the people of Scotland and deliver on their priorities. I know we are not perfect. We haven't got everything right and there is much more work still to do. Work to grow our economy, get more people into employment and drive up standards in our schools even further.feedback

I know we're not perfect, we haven't got everything right, and there is so much more work still to do. Work to grow our economy, get more people into employment and drive up standards in our schools even further. But we can be proud in Scotland that when it comes to progressive policies, we are leading the UK. Scotland has come a long way over the last ten years – but the next few years will be hugely important in determining the kind of country we become.feedback

For me, this is a question of, at the end of the Brexit process, does Scotland get a choice about our future. At the end of the Brexit process, I believe people in Scotland should have a choice over our future.feedback

So I was simply saying that there may be the prospect of a phased return for Scotland to the EU where we would be in Efta, the EEA, on an interim basis. We have argued and continue to argue either for it to be scrapped or for fundamental reform of the Common Fisheries Policy.feedback

What I am saying in this election is that we have an opportunity, by how we vote, to give those proposals democratic legitimacy. And, by voting for the SNP, to give me the ability to strengthen Scotland's hands in those [Brexit] negotiations, get a seat at the negotiating table and argue for Scotland's place in the single market. Because we as the Scottish government, the SNP, are not in charge of the Brexit process right now we don't know exactly what that is going to be like, how that is going to unfold.feedback

I've been very open that this is not good enough. They've made certain recommendations to us about how we improve the teaching of literacy and numeracy. Right now we've got a new national improvement framework, we have an attainment challenge, we have an attainment fund putting significant extra resources into education. But we have had some advice that we need to have more of a focus in our curriculum on literacy and numeracy and that's exactly what we're doing right now, so we've introduced new benchmarks for the teaching of literacy and numeracy.feedback

If Scotland is independent, our position always has been, as long as I've been in the SNP and continues to be, that we want Scotland to be a full member of the European Union. We don't want to go into the Euro and no member of the EU can be forced into the Euro and Sweden is one of the examples of that. Now we have to set out, if we're in an independence referendum - and we're not in that right now - the process for regaining or retaining, depending on where we are in the Brexit process, EU membership. Now it may be that we have a phased approach to that by necessity.feedback

I've been very open that this is not good enough. We have had some advice that we need to have more of a focus in our curriculum on literacy and numeracy and that's exactly what we're doing right now. On literacy and numeracy we have a particular challenge, but on many other measures of Scottish education that is just not true.feedback

Any investigation by The Law Society is so serious that, if confirmed, the SNP must immediately suspend Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh. The voters in Ochil and South Perthshire need immediate answers. They cannot go to the polls without all the information being made available to them.feedback

It is interesting if you look at the Tory and Labour support, they are mirror images of each other. The Labour vote has collapsed and gone to the Tories. So it is not the SNP losing ground to the Tories, it's Labour. So, you know, I take nothing for granted going into this election, but I think the day after my party has won by a considerable margin more votes, more seats and more councils than any other party.feedback

Yes, by their standards, the Tories did well – and I take nothing away from them – but they did well entirely at the expense of the Labour party. As we go into the general election, the people of Scotland have a clear choice. It is pretty clear that Theresa May, on the strength of support in England, is going to win the general election. So for people in Scotland, if they want strong voices standing up for Scotland's interests and holding the Tories to account in Westminster, that can only come from the SNP.feedback

If you compare north and south of the border, the Tories polled less in Scotland than Jeremy Corbyn did in England, and yet Jeremy Corbyn has been written off as a disaster. The day after my party has won by a considerable margin more votes, more seats and more councils than any other party and improved our position on the last council election, I think I'm reasonably entitled to feel quite optimistic as we go into the next contest.feedback

The Tories put an independence referendum at the heart of their campaign. It was the only thing they spoke about. And yet they lost the election yesterday. It was the Tories who tried to make it a referendum on an independence referendum and they came quite a distant second. If there's a message at all on that issue, it's a message for the Conservatives.feedback

This is a fantastic election victory for the SNP, coming off our election victory last year and the one in the general election the year before that. It gives us a great launchpad for the general election in a few weeks' time.feedback

That stands in stark contrast to the Conservatives who are taking child tax credits and working tax credits away from many working families, making their lives harder. We know Theresa May wants a free hand to do whatever she wants. We've got to make sure that there's a check on the Tories, that there's strong opposition and strong voices for Scotland standing up for progressive policies like this one, and that in Scotland can only come from the SNP.feedback

The issue at the heart of this election is, whether you support independence or oppose independence, surely that decision should be taken by people in Scotland, by the Scottish people and the Scottish Parliament, and not by a Tory government at Westminster. We're here at a nursery highlighting the SNP's policy to almost double state-funded childcare provision, helping young people get the best start in life and helping working families.feedback

It's time for the Nationalists to focus on the job of governing, such as dealing with the crisis in our schools and tackling the problems in the NHS after a decade of SNP mismanagement.feedback

My opponents are ridiculous. They go from accusing me of talking about independence too much to accusing me of not talking about it enough. The issue at this election campaign is quite clear - how do we make sure we have strong voices arguing Scotland's corner at Westminster and also backing our Scottish Parliament.feedback

When you cut through the tank-riding, bagpipe-playing bravado, Ruth Davidson is just another cruel member of a cruel party. The First Minister uses strong words like shameful. She has the power to act. If she chooses strong words but chooses not to act, then that would indeed be shameful.feedback

People who want to make sure that Scotland has strong voices against the Conservatives in this election need to vote for the SNP because that's what this election above all else is about. The election won't decide whether or not Scotland becomes independent, we got a mandate for the referendum in the election last year. So this is about whether Scotland's voice is heard and Scotland's interests are protected. And there is a clear choice. A vote for the Tories is not some pain-free tactical vote.feedback

And whatever else happens in this election we should not allow the Tory party to escape the accountability for any misdemeanours that may have led to them buying the last general election. The SNP opposes Trident, not just in principle, but at a time when our public services and the vulnerable in our society are under so much pressure, spending tens of billions of pounds on weapons of mass destruction is the wrong choice. Labour should have the guts to simply say that. It's what we're told Jeremy Corbyn believes so he should have the courage of his convictions and say it.feedback

I don't want to see the Tories in council chambers. I don't want to Tories with their hands on local services and my message is crystal clear: vote SNP.feedback

This is pretty tired stuff from the Tories. We only have to take one look at the polls to know that Jeremy Corbyn ain't going anywhere near number 10 Downing Street–on his own or with the help of anybody else. We know that the Prime Minister wants to silence opposition, so the question for Scotland is this: if people want a strong opposition to the Tories, if they want MPs who will stand up and be a voice for Scotland, then the only party to support at this election is this one, the SNP.feedback

If the SNP wins this election in Scotland and the Tories (Conservatives) don't, then Theresa May's attempt to block our mandate to give the people of Scotland a choice over their own future when the time is right will crumble to dust. (May's) motive is clear. She knows that as the terms of her hard Brexit become clearer, the deep misgivings that so many people already have will increase and grow. So she wants to act now to crush the parliamentary opposition that she faces.feedback

I don't think you will find anybody in any part of the UK who thinks it is. I was simply stating the fact as I did in 2015 that I don't want to see a Tory Government so if there I was a Parliamentary artithmetic that lent itself to keeping the Tories out of Government I would want to see that happen. Are you asking me if I think that is likely? My answer is not, what I am looking at right now. So that means my objective in this election is not to worry about coalitions with anybody but making sure the SNP is in the strongest possible position to stand up and protect Scotland's interests.feedback

In terms of Scotland, this move is a huge political miscalculation by the Prime Minister. It will once again give people the opportunity to reject the (Conservative government's) narrow, divisive agenda, as well as reinforcing the democratic mandate which already exists for giving the people of Scotland a choice on their future.feedback

Having written to Theresa May on the back of the Scottish Parliamentary vote, I've said some time after the Easter recess I will set out what I consider the next steps to be, but I will set that out to parliament. These are not the kinds of things I am thinking of. I was elected as First Minister just less than a year ago. I've got a responsibility to lead this country. But I also think it's right that Scotland doesn't have our future direction as a country imposed on us, but that we get to choose that.feedback

But I also think it's right that at the right time Scotland doesn't have our future direction as a country imposed on us, but that we get to choose that.feedback

I'm absolutely clear that the position of Theresa May, I just don't think is politically sustainable. If the Scottish parliament is of the opinion, as it is because it has voted in this way, that Scotland should be given a choice, not now, but when the time is right, when there is clarity about Brexit and when obviously there is clarity also about independence, that we should have a choice about our future.feedback

So for me independence is not an end in itself – it's how we equip our country.feedback

When I was growing up Margaret Thatcher was prime minister and the policies she was implementing were doing real damage to the kind of communities I was growing up in. But very, very few people in Scotland voted for Margaret Thatcher. It just seemed to me wrong that this prime minister that Scotland didn't vote for was able to implement policies that were leading to high unemployment, devastating communities. Margaret Thatcher once famously said there was no thing about society – well, I do believe in society. I believe in a strong, cohesive society.feedback

My experience of trying to reach some compromise with her over the past few months has been an unproductive and frustrating one. Much of the thinking and much of the decision making is very closed, and it's very difficult to get into that in any meaningful way. If I told you that not just the Scottish government, but the Welsh government and Northern Ireland found out the date of the triggering of Article 50 from the BBC, it probably gives you an insight.feedback

We've sat at the table and we give our view. But the breakdown appears to be that it doesn't necessarily influence the position that the U.K. government is then taking.feedback

If the same attitude is adopted by her government to other European countries as has been adopted to Scotland and Wales and Northern Ireland, then I would fear that the Brexit process is not going to end well, because of that highhandedness and – dare I say it – arrogance about how the negotiation at this stage has been taken forward.feedback

Regardless of what happens in the future, as an independent country or part of the UK, I want Scotland to play a part – a constructive part – in some of the issues we are discussing today.feedback

Every day I hold this office, I will work to ensure that every woman, every wee girl across this country, gets a chance to do what I've done and follow their dream. My mission is not to break anything. I want Scotland to be independent not from any insular or separatist motivation, but because I believe that countries should govern themselves. I am here to talk about the work Scotland can do for peace and reconciliation.feedback

We agree with the Prime Minister that now is not the time for a vote, but if the UK Government's intention is to try and indefinitely block a referendum that would be utterly undemocratic and unsustainable.feedback

Both of us want to apply our capacity for innovation to tackling what is arguably the biggest environmental, economic and moral issue facing the world.feedback

Our modern identity will remain open, outward-looking and inclusive. And Scotland will of course continue to build partnerships around the world - including with governments, businesses and universities here in California and across the United States. If I ruled out a referendum, I would be deciding – completely unilaterally – that Scotland will follow the UK to a hard Brexit come-what-may, no matter how damaging to our economy and our society it turns out to be.feedback

For a prime minister who on Wednesday proclaimed Brexit as an exercise in self-determination, , to now seek to block Scotland's own right to self-determination would be democratically indefensible. It is my firm view that the mandate of the Scottish parliament must be respected and progressed. The question is not if, but how. I hope that will be by constructive discussion between our governments. However, if that is not yet possible, I will set out to the Scottish parliament the steps I intend to take to ensure that progress is made towards a referendum.feedback

The next two years are hugely important for Scotland because they will determine the kind of country we'll become. That's why I have today written to the UK Government to ensure that we can make that choice when the time is right to accept Brexit or instead become an independent country. I don't take for granted how people would vote when that choice comes but I hope we can all agree that the future of our country is our choice. The Prime Minister has indicated that she intends to ignore the will of the Scottish Parliament and seek to prevent people in Scotland having that choice.feedback

I hope you will not do so. However, in anticipation of your refusal to enter into discussions at this stage, it is important for me to be clear about my position. It is my firm view that the mandate of the Scottish Parliament must be respected and progressed. The question is not if, but how. I hope that will be by constructive discussion between our Governments. However, if that is not yet possible, I will set out to the Scottish Parliament the steps I intend to take to ensure that progress is made towards a referendum.feedback

Now the prime minister has indicated that she intends to ignore the will of the Scottish parliament and seek to prevent the people of Scotland having that choice; if the Westminster government continues to hold line it will go against the very foundations of devolution. So I hope that the prime minister changes her mind and acknowledges that the people of Scotland are entitled to a choice at a time and in a way that is right for Scotland.feedback

Now, under the current terms of the Scotland Act, those powers should automatically come to this chamber but nobody in the UK Government, and I discussed this with the Prime Minister on Monday, nobody on the Conservative benches will give that guarantee, which leads me to suspect that what the Tories are actually planning is a power grab on this parliament, and that will be absolutely unacceptable. I think it's really important that everybody across this chamber stands up for the rights of this Parliament before we go any further in this process.feedback

Closer to home, the triggering of article 50 is also politically and constitutionally reckless. The full effects on Northern Ireland, which currently faces the possible reintroduction of direct rule, remain to be seen. Similarly, there has been no serious attempt to engage with compromise proposals that would keep Scotland - which voted decisively to remain in Europe - inside the single market.feedback

Brexit – especially the hard Brexit shaped by May's inability to shake off the agenda of the Ukip-tinged right wing of her own party – threatens to be an act of self-harm on a scale barely understood. The result is that we must now ensure that people in Scotland are given a choice between the hard Brexit deal now being negotiated, and independence.feedback

Today's vote must now be respected. If it does so, I will enter discussion in good faith and with a willingness to compromise. However if it chooses not to do so, I will return to the Parliament following the Easter recess to set out the steps the Scottish Government will take to progress the will of Parliament. This is, first and foremost, about giving the people of Scotland a choice on this country's future.feedback

I hope the UK government will respect the will of this parliament. If it does so then I will enter into discussions in good faith with a willingness to compromise. However, if it chooses not to do so then I will return to the parliament following the Easter recess to set out the steps the Scottish government will take to progress the will of parliament. If a majority in the Scottish Parliament endorses [a new referendum], the Prime Minister should be clear about this.feedback

We should be working together to get that right deal for Scotland, that right deal for the UK, that's my job as prime minister and so for that reason I say to the SNP now is not the time.feedback

I think it makes it very difficult for the Prime Minister to maintain a rational opposition to a referendum in the timescale I have set out. I think she has got a perfectly rational opposition to a referendum now, which is why I am not proposing it. But I think based on the discussion today I would struggle to see what her rational opposition to it would be in the timescale we have been talking about. First of all, now is the point when we are triggering Article 50, we're starting negotiations for leaving the European Union.feedback

Staying in the U.K. hasn't safeguarded Scotland's place in Europe, it has jeopardized it.feedback

To suggest that an emphatic election victory on the basis of a clear manifesto commitment and a parliamentary majority on an issue does not provide a mandate begs the question: what does? And it runs the real risk of undermining the democratic process. Nine months on, there is no indication at all that this parliament's voice has carried any weight at Westminster. Instead, the UK government is taking decisions entirely unilaterally which I, and many others, believe will deeply damage our economy, our society and our standing in the world.feedback

There is no queue to join the European Union and we have several voices over recent time saying that if Scotland wanted to be in the EU then there would be a very open warm reception for that. I don't think that is reasonable because by that point Scotland has been taken out of the EU, two years have elapsed, presumably there is divergence opening up between the rules of the European Union, the single market and where the UK is going. I think it gets much hard for Scotland to take a different course.feedback

To stand in defiance of (Scottish parliamentary authorisation) would be for the prime minister to shatter beyond repair any notion of the UK as a respectful partnership of equals. Scotland's future will be in Scotland's hands. (May) has time to think again and I hope she does. If her concern is timing, then – within reason – I am happy to have that discussion. Scotland isn't full up. If you are as appalled as we are at the path this Westminster government is taking, come and join us.feedback

The will of our parliament must and will prevail. Imagine what will happen if Scotland chooses to stay. We will become a magnet for talent and investment from all across the UK. So let me issue this open invitation today - Scotland isn't full up. If you are as appalled as we are at the path this Westminster Government is taking, come and join us. Come here to live, work, invest or study. Come to Scotland - and be part of building a modern, progressive, outward-looking, compassionate country. To stand in the way of a referendum would deny us that choice.feedback

To stand in defiance of it would be for the Prime Minister to shatter beyond repair any notion of the UK as a respectful partnership of equals. We know change is coming. The EU referendum has made sure of that. The only question is what kind of change. We will ask Parliament to agree that this choice should be exercised at a time when we know the terms of Brexit but before it is too late to take a different path. And we will ask Parliament's permission to seek the legal authority that will allow the people of Scotland to have that choice.feedback

The Prime Minister's attitude should worry all of us hoping that negotiations with Europe will not be a disaster because – and let me put it bluntly – if she shows the same condescension and inflexibility, the same tin ear, to other EU countries as she has to Scotland then the Brexit process will hit the rocks. Scotland isn't full up. If you are as appalled as we are at the path this Westminster Government is take, come and join us.feedback

As we debate our future, let's do so openly and honestly. But let no one – for or against independence – ever seek to run down Scotland's strengths and our nation's great potential. What we must all do is strive to make our country even better.feedback

It is an argument for independence really in a nutshell, that Westminster thinks it has got the right to block the democratically elected mandate of the Scottish government and the majority in the Scottish Parliament. You know history may look back on today and see it as the day the fate of the union was sealed.feedback

"The Scottish government is not proposing #scotref now... but when the terms of Brexit clear and before it is too late to choose an alternative path."feedback

This is not the Iron Lady – this is someone whose government is in chaos, chopping and changing all of the time.feedback

Cabinet today agreed that the referendum must be for Scotland's national legislature to shape. It should be up to the Scottish Parliament to determine the referendum's timing, franchise and the question. This is not a moment to play politics or create uncertainty. It is a moment to bring our country together, to honour the will of the British people and to shape for them a better, brighter future and a better Britain. Trading mandates does not put PM on strong ground. In addition, I was elected as FM on a clear manifesto commitment re #scotref. The PM is not yet elected by anyone.feedback

They (UK government) will be making a big mistake if they think that I am in any way bluffing because if it comes to the point, you know, two years after Scotland had been told in the independence referendum, Scotland don't leave the UK, lead the UK. Here we are, we voted to stay in the EU, we were told that voting 'No' (in the Scottish independence referendum) was the only way we could stay in the EU, and we now face being taken out of the EU. Now that creates a much more fundamental question for Scotland.feedback

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Quotes by Nicola Sturgeon on Scottish referendum

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