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  1. ITV Report

Sturgeon pledges new Scottish independence drive

Nicola Sturgeon said she was committed to the 'beautiful dream' of independence Credit: PA

Nicola Sturgeon has said that her Scottish National Party will begin a new campaign within months to build support for independence from the United Kingdom.

Ms Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, announced plans for the initiative to raucous applause as she addressed the SNP's spring conference.

"This summer the SNP will embark on a new initiative to build support for independence," she said, to a standing ovation.

Scotland voted against independence at a national referendum in 2014 which saw 55% vote to remain against 45% in favour of splitting.

Our dream is for Scotland to become independent.

To be in the driving seat of our own destiny, to shape our own future, and on the basis of equality with our family across the British Isles and our friends across the globe, to play our part in building a better world.

– Nicola Sturgeon

Ms Sturgeon appeared to indicate that a re-rerun of the Scottish independence referendum was not likely to take place in the short term, saying there was no point wishing to "do it all again next week".

However, there has been speculation that if the UK votes to leave the EU this summer, it could spark a new Scottish drive for independence.

Ms Sturgeon said they would not attempt to "browbeat anyone", adding that they would win only by persuading the majority of citizens that it offered the "best future" for the country.

Some party insiders have criticised the last campaign for being too dependent on the value of North Sea oil.

Before the new drive can begin, the SNP faces Holyrood elections in May, with Ms Sturgeon putting herself to the country to be first minister for the first time.

"To be given a clear mandate to lead this nation for the next five years will be a precious opportunity," she said.

"If you give me that opportunity I promise I will seize it with both hands."