In Brief

Nicola Sturgeon shelves referendum plans

'IndyRef2' postponed but not cancelled, Scotland's First Minister tells Holyrood

Nicola Sturgeon has dropped plans for "IndyRef2" after the SNP lost seats at the general election, but she said it was still "likely" a referendum will be held by 2021.

Addressing MSPs in Holyrood, the First Minister said she was strongly committed to "the principle of giving Scotland a choice" at the end of the Brexit process.

She added: "We will not seek to introduce the legislation for an independence referendum immediately. Instead, we will, in good faith, redouble our efforts and put our shoulders to the wheel in seeking to influence the Brexit talks in a way that protects Scotland's interests."

Recent polls suggest 43 per cent of Scots would like a second referendum to take place now and with the Nationalists' vote share down to 37 per cent from 50 per cent in 2015, Sturgeon admitted the push for IndyRef2 had cost her party at the ballot box.

Unionist opposition in the Scottish Parliament claimed the SNP leader had not gone far enough in ruling out a second ballot, but the pro-independence Scottish Greens urged her to "continue fighting" for another referendum.

While the detail and timing of a second independence referendum may have changed, the headline hasn't, says the BBC's Philip Sim. The timetable mooted in March "has gone up in smoke", says Sim, "but otherwise this is not particularly earthshaking stuff".

He adds: "The plans haven't been deleted, they've been saved to drafts."

"The general election result suggests discontent over local or devolved issues is currently overriding constitutional matters," says the New Statesman's Julie Rampen. While she may have "booted the prospect of another referendum into the heather", the First Minister is betting her political future, and another independence vote, "on Brexit becoming real before autumn 2018". 

While Sturgeon may have "booted the prospect of another referendum into the heather", she is betting her political future - and another independence vote - "on Brexit becoming real before autumn 2018". 

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