There will be no second independence referendum unless Westminster agrees to one, Nicola Sturgeon has suggested.
The First Minister was appearing at a Women For Independence conference when she was asked about the prospect of a second independence referendum without Westminster approval.
Voicing her concern that Unionists would claim an independence referendum under such circumstances illegal, she said: “The beauty of 2014 was that it was an agreed process.”
The SNP leader added: ” We may get into a situation where the UK government says no, we’re not going to agree order and I think if that happens we need to rise above that, we need to make the case of how unreasonable that is.
“And ultimately if the only way through that is to take that to an election and ask the people of Scotland to use an election to say no, we will have absolutely our right to choose, I think that’s what that will take.”
The comments will be seen by many as confirmation that the current mandate, won in the 2016 Holyrood election, will not be implemented. The SNP manifesto contained a pledge to hold a second independence referendum should Scotland face the prospect of being dragged out of the European Union against its will.
That manifesto pledge was strengthened by a Holyrood vote in March 2017 which backed calls for a second independence referendum.
However a subsequent snap election call by Theresa Ma,y which resulted in gains for the Scottish Conservatives, stalled the Indyref2 process.
Some independence supporters have urged the SNP to substitute a Scottish election or a UK general election for an Indyref if Westminster refuses to acknowledge the current mandate. However the comments from Nicola Sturgeon suggests the SNP will seek a fresh mandate instead.
What the party does if Westminster still refuses to grant a Section 30 order has not been explained.