Sturgeon offers Shelved Independence Referendum in Return for Soft Brexit

"If that can't be done, then we want to explore ways - and we've put forward how we think this can be done - of keeping Scotland in the single market while continuing to protect free trade across the rest of the United Kingdom and said very clearly, of course, that would require additional powers for the Scottish Parliament".

However, in an interview for the Andrew Marr programme, she warned the United Kingdom government and Ms May that "they will be making a big mistake if they think I am in any way bluffing" on the prospect of another Scottish independence referendum.

Sturgeon indicated on the Andrew Marr show that the SNP's core message during a referendum would be the divisive prospect of Scotland's fate being determined by rightwing Tories ruling from London for the next 20 years.

"Now that creates a much more fundamental question for Scotland, when something as fundamentally important as the membership of the European Union and the single market [is at stake], and all the implications that has for us".

Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon said she would shelve plans for a Scottish independence vote providing a soft Brexit option was chosen.

Sturgeon added: "Am I going to stop arguing for independence or believing in independence?"

Sturgeon last week said Scotland would take a second referendum of independence off the table if the United Kingdom government aimed for a so-called soft Brexit, where the country would remain part of European single market after Brexit. "I'm deliberately saying put my preferred option [of Scottish independence in the EU] to one side and asking people if we can find a consensus and compromise option".

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Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Conservative leader, said Ms Sturgeon claimed she was going to take a referendum off the table, only to put it back days later.

"So I'm in a sense willing to put aside my preferred option of independence in the European Union to see if we can explore a consensus and compromise option".

"So what I'm trying to do is see with compromise and a focus on building consensus, there is a proposition that the maximum number of people can get behind".

'But we're talking here in the particular context and timescale of Brexit, and I'm putting these proposals forward in good faith. A red line for the prime minister.

In the interview, the SNP leader also said she accepted "it looks at the moment as though the United Kingdom is going to leave the EU".

"Don't disregard Scotland", Sturgeon told the Andrew Marr programme.

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