SNP faithful gather in Aberdeen for party conference

Scottish nationalists have called for a new referendum and accused the prime minister of ignoring their demands in her preparations for divorce talks with the EU.

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Responding on Twitter, Sturgeon said denying a second referendum would be "undemocratic" and that her Scottish National Party (SNP) has a clear mandate to call a new vote.

"To be talking about an independence referendum will make it more hard for us to be able to get the right deal for Scotland, and the right deal for the UK", May said.

Prime Minister Theresa May pledged on Friday to fight for the "precious, precious union" of the United Kingdom, unveiling what she called her Plan for Britain with a warning to Scotland not to pursue its independence plans.

"In 2014, I know from speaking to Polish nationals, I knocked on doors in my constituency, majority bought the line which has now turned out to be a falsehood that if they voted No in the referendum they'd be allowed to stay working and living here inside the European Union", said Hendry.

"It is not something to which any responsible government could reasonably agree".

Sturgeon said Scotland should have the chance to stay in the EU's lucrative single market and keep an open-door policy to immigrants after voting to remain, and has criticised May for failing to consult the Scottish government on her strategy.

Sturgeon will seek approval in the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh for a new vote next Wednesday, but London has the right to block the request.

"We are four nations, but at heart we are one people", May will say, according to a speech leaked to the Telegraph. The Scottish Greens party, however, rebelled against the notion of a "Westminster government that Scotland did not elect" vetoing a decision of Scotland's elected parliament, claiming that such a high-handed approach would only bolster support for independence.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said Nicola Sturgeon's demand for a vote by the spring of 2019 would be rejected "conclusively".

"Right now we should be working together, not pulling apart", May told British television.

May had previously said there was no appetite for a second referendum less than three years after Scots voted by 55% to 45% to reject independence, in September 2014.

The British government's Scotland minister, David Mundell, said May's administration "will not be entering into discussions or negotiations" about a new referendum on Scottish independence. House of Commons Speaker John Bercow announced that the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act had received the assent of Queen Elizabeth II.

Despite her refusal to openly rule it out, Sturgeon's aides insisted afterwards she had no plans to stage a so-called indicative, unofficial referendum.

Britain's future trading relationship with the bloc and any exit bill which it may have to pay are both set to be highly contentious issues in the forthcoming negotiations.

  • Elsie Buchanan