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  1. ITV Report

SNP to set out timescale for a second independence referendum

The SNP will set out the timescale for a possible second referendum on independence in its manifesto for next year's Holyrood election, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

Nicola Sturgeon plans to include a second independence referendum in her 2016 manifesto. Credit: PA

Almost a year after Scotland voted to reject independence, Scotland's First Minister confirmed the party's manifesto will include more details on the circumstances under which another vote might be "appropriate".

Ms Sturgeon named continued austerity measures, the renewal of Trident and withdrawal from the European Union as potential triggers for a second referendum.

Sturgeon also said she would only press ahead if she was confident of support in Scotland for independence.

Our manifesto will set out what we consider are the circumstances and the timescale on which a second referendum might be appropriate, but we can only propose.

We've seen a Conservative government renege on its promises on more powers, we've seen them continue to impose austerity on the most vulnerable, George Osborne arrogantly pressing ahead with investment to support the renewal of Trident even though the House of Commons hasn't decided to renew Trident, our membership of the European Union being jeopardised.

– Nicola Sturgeon

Earlier today, the Scottish First Minister said the appetite for independence could also grow "under Jeremy Corbyn's divided Labour."

Speaking after the Labour leadership announcement today, she said:

We congratulate Jeremy Corbyn on his victory and hope that we can work constructively with him in a progressive alliance against Tory austerity.

We also call on him to give an early commitment that Labour MPs will join the SNP in voting against the £100 billion renewal of Trident.

However, the reality today is that at a time when the country needs strong opposition to the Tories, Jeremy Corbyn leads a deeply, and very bitterly, divided party.

– Nicola Sturgeon

She went on to say that independence may be the only alternative to a Conservative government if Labour cannot quickly demonstrate they have a credible chance of winning the next general election.

A recent Ipsos Mori survey for STV suggested 53% of voters in Scotland would back independence if there was another referendum.

The same poll put support for the SNP in the constituency vote at next year's Scottish Parliament election at 55%, compared to Labour's 21%.

Opposition leaders in Scotland were quick to condemn the announcement, accusing her of backtracking on the "once in a generation" referendum promise.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said: "Nicola Sturgeon has now made it clear that she wants to take Scotland back to another referendum, with all the uncertainty and division that entails.

"Most people in Scotland want to put last year's referendum behind them and get on with life. Despite her own promises, it is now clear that Nicola Sturgeon wants to take Scotland back to a neverendum."

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: "People who regretted the divisive nature of referendum and thought that democracy counted will be disappointed that Nicola Sturgeon is putting another referendum as a priority in her manifesto.

"A year after she promised us that it would be a once-in-a-lifetime event she is now putting her party first before the country by plunging us into another protracted campaign for independence.

Labour's Shadow Scottish secretary Ian Murray said: "While Labour is facing the future with new leaders who have an overwhelming mandate for change, the SNP are stuck in the arguments of the past."