1. ITV Report

UK government 'running scared' over independence vote

Angus Robertson. Credit: PA

SNP deputy leader Angus Robertson is to accuse the UK Government of running scared of a second independence referendum.

The party's leader in Westminster will also accuse the Conservatives of having a "desperate desire" to prevent anyone rejecting "hard Brexit".

It comes as Prime Minister Theresa May said it would it be "fundamentally unfair" to hold a second Scottish independence referendum in the next two years, as she prepares to outline plans for a more united UK.

Mr Robertson is expected to tell the SNP spring conference in Aberdeen that it is for the people of Scotland to decide the country's future.

It is clear from the PM's panicked response to the Scottish Government's decision to, rightly, give people in Scotland a choice over Scotland's future, that the Tories are simply scared of the people's choice.

The Tories' argument is not about process, it is about their desperate desire to prevent anyone having the chance to reject the hard right Brexit that they are so wedded to.

The truth is it should not be for either Theresa May or the Scottish Government to decide Scotland's future - that choice belongs to the parliament and the people of Scotland, and it is one this party will never shy away from.

– Angus Robertson, Deputy Leader SNP
Nicola Sturgeon and Theresa May. Credit: PA

While First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has outlined plans to stage a fresh vote on independence between autumn 2018 and spring 2019, Mrs May intervened on Thursday to say "now is not the time" for such a ballot.

On Friday, the Prime Minister will pledge to forge a "more united" nation as she begins the Brexit process.

Mrs May will stress that the break from Brussels will require "one United Kingdom, all pulling together to get the best outcome".

The coming negotiations with the EU will be vital for everyone in the United Kingdom.

Every person, every family, every business, every community the length and breadth of the United Kingdom - England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

We have pulled together as one and succeeded together.

We are four nations, but at heart we are one people.

And I will always ensure the voices and interests of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are represented as we negotiate to leave the EU.

And I will always fight to strengthen and sustain this precious, precious union.

– Theresa May

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