1. ITV Report

Draft bill for new Scottish independence vote set to be published

Scotland voted to remain in the UK in 2014 Credit: PA

Is Scotland heading for a second referendum?

Only in 2014, 55% of Scottish citizens voted to remain part of the UK, but a second vote on independence could now be on the cards.

In the light of the UK's vote to exit the European Union, Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon says that Scots should have the chance to reconsider the issue of independence.

On Thursday, a draft bill for a second referendum on Scottish independent is set to be published by the country's Constitution Secretary.

A second independence referendum draft bill is set to be published Credit: PA

At an SNP conference last week, Ms Sturgeon revealed that formal consultation on the legislation would begin within days.

Speaking in advance of the Bill's publication, Ms Sturgeon said: "This government was elected on a specific manifesto pledge that the Scottish Parliament should be able to consider an independence referendum if there was a material change in circumstances, such as Scotland being taken out of the European Union against its will.

"The country now faces exactly that prospect, including the likelihood of it being a hard Brexit with all the additional damage that will do to Scotland's economy and jobs, which is why this bill is being published for consultation".

Ms Sturgeon has already warned she will intensify efforts to protect Scotland's place in Europe.

She has also said she will put forward specific proposals aimed at keeping Scotland in the single market - even if the rest of the UK leaves.

Nicola Sturgeon wants to protect Scotland's European interests Credit: PA

Ms Sturgeon added: "However, if it becomes clear that it is the best or only way of safeguarding Scotland's interests - and in line with our manifesto commitment - parliament must be able to consider the option of an independence referendum, to allow the people of Scotland to vote on independence before the UK leaves the EU.

"I am determined to ensure that Scotland has the ability to make that choice if it is necessary to protect our vital interests.

"If there is an independence referendum, it will not be because the result of the 2014 referendum has not been respected - it will be because the promises made to Scotland have not been kept.

"Every part of Scotland voted to remain in Europe but a Tory government with just one MP out of 59 is now threatening to drag us out of the EU - that is the stark reality of the situation we have been placed in, as a government and a nation".

Ruth Davidson opposes the new Bill Credit: PA

However, the move has been met with criticism by the Scottish Conservatives.

Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has said her party would fight proposals "every step of the way".

Ms Davidson said: "The First Minister says she respects the result from 2014, but there will be more than two million Scots who now know otherwise.

"Instead of using Brexit to further her own political ambitions, Nicola Sturgeon should be working closely with the UK Government to address the risks and explore the opportunities this decision creates for industries and sectors across Scotland".

Labour's shadow Scottish secretary Dave Anderson has also branded the move "reckless".