Letter asking for second Scottish independence referendum is delivered to Prime Minister

A letter from the Scottish Government formally requesting the power to hold a second referendum on Scottish independence has been delivered to Prime Minister Theresa May.

The Section 30 letter penned by Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was dispatched to Downing Street on Friday morning.

MSPs voted by 69 to 59 this week in favour of seeking permission for an independence referendum to take place between autumn 2018 and spring 2019.

The letter said: "In these very changed circumstances, the people of Scotland must have the right to choose our own future - in short, to exercise our right of self determination."

Ms Sturgeon also said leaving the EU and the single market would have "enormous implications" for schools, hospitals, jobs and investment in Scotland.

Read the full text of the letter:

Dear Theresa

Nicola Sturgeon

The First Minister also posted a video message on Twitter on Friday morning, explaining her reasons for writing the letter.

"The next two years are hugely important for Scotland because they will determine the kind of country we'll become," she says.

"That's why I have today written to the UK Government to ensure that we can make that choice when the time is right to accept Brexit or instead become an independent country."

I don't take for granted how people would vote when that choice comes but I hope we can all agree that the future of our country is our choice.

Nicola Sturgeon's video message

Ms Sturgeon said in an interview on Friday morning that she wants to make "make sure the will of the Scottish Parliament is respected".

"If the Prime Minister chooses not to do that I will set out to Parliament over the next few weeks what I intend to do to make sure that the will of Parliament is respected and we make progress towards giving people choice."

The UK Government has said it will decline the request, with Mrs May repeatedly stating "now is not the time" for another vote on the issue.

However, Ms Sturgeon has said her mandate for another vote is "beyond question" and is pressing ahead with a formal approach for a Section 30 order - the mechanism for the powers to hold a referendum.

The Prime Minister has been clear that now is not the time for a second independence referendum, and we will not be entering into negotiations on the Scottish Government's proposal.

UK Government spokeswoman

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said: "People across Scotland will be dismayed that Nicola Sturgeon is more focused on re-running the arguments of the past than doing her job of running our public services.

"Scotland doesn't need or want a second independence referendum.There is absolutely no evidence that another divisive referendum is the will of the people of Scotland."We need the SNP Government to get on with the job of governing."