Nicola Sturgeon has suggested she would still push for a second independence referendum even if the UK remained in the European Union.
The Scottish First Minister, who has used Brexit to justify plans for a referendum by 2021, indicated that she still wanted a vote on Scottish independence following a hypothetical people’s vote that kept the UK in the EU.
Appearing on the Andrew Marr Show, Ms Sturgeon argued that the prospect of Boris Johnson becoming prime minister and “all of the experience of the last three years” mean Scotland should hold another independence vote.
Andrew Marr asked: “If you get a second referendum on Brexit, that you want, and it goes the other way — the UK stays inside the EU — does that remove the need for an imminent Scottish independence referendum?”
Ms Sturgeon replied: “Not necessarily, no, because I think things are changing.”
She added: “I’m sure if we end up in that scenario I’ll come back on the programme and we could talk about that rather than talk about it hypothetically just now.
“We could be facing the prospect in the near future of Boris Johnson as prime minister, so the last thing I should be doing is narrowing Scotland’s options.
“I think after all of the experience of the last three years, Scotland should have the opportunity to decide whether we want to become an independent European nation.”
In April, Ms Sturgeon told the Scottish Parliament that she wants to hold a second referendum on independence by 2021 if the UK is taken out of the EU.
Responding to the comments, Pamela Nash, chief executive of campaign group Scotland in Union, said: “This is a stark reminder that Nicola Sturgeon’s only priority is a divisive second independence referendum.
“She is weaponising Brexit in a desperate bid to boost support for separation, but admits she will push to break up the UK whatever happens.
“Nicola Sturgeon will never stop campaigning to divide us from our friends and families, but there is a better future for Scotland as part of the UK.”
Scottish Conservative chief whip Maurice Golden accused Ms Sturgeon of using Brexit as “a fig leaf to hide her only real priority”.
“Nicola Sturgeon has used Brexit as an excuse for pursuing a second independence referendum for the last three years,” he said.
“Whether the UK is in or out of the EU, her answer will always be the same – independence.”
Mr Golden added: “It is time for Scotland to move on from this endless uncertainty and to leave the division of the last decade behind us.”