Sturgeon says autumn 2018 would be 'common sense' date for independence referendum

Questioned on his Wednesday LBC phone-in programme about a scenario where Nicola Sturgeon could resign after losing a second independence referendum, Mr Salmond said his return as leader would be "unlikely and far-fetched".

Nicola Sturgeon has hinted at autumn 2018 as a possible date for a second referendum on Scottish independence.

The EU's chief negotiator for Brexit, Michel Barnier, has said that an exit agreement with the United Kingdom should be reached by October 2018 though many diplomats and trade negotiators have expressed concern that a comprehensive Brexit deal would be hard to strike in such a short time.

His intervention will be a blow to the SNP leadership which is widely expected to announce plans for a second independence referendum at the party's conference next week. The time suggested by him is autumn 2018.

Sturgeon has asked for a "differentiated solution" for semi-autonomous Scotland to remain in the European single market but has said her request has been met with "intransigence" from London. She has repeatedly accused Prime Minister Theresa May's government of overlooking her demands.

Her opponents have repeatedly accused Sturgeon of bluffing because Scotland's finances have been hit very hard by the collapse in North Sea oil prices, and Scottish exports to the European Union are plateauing, worth only a quarter of its sales within the rest of the UK. "Because it suggests that our politicians at Westminster and all the rest of it think that Brexit is some kind of game".

In the Referendum, Scotland voted for the United Kingdom to stay in the European Union with a figure of 62 per cent wanting to remain, 38 per cent voted to leave.

She told the SNP when she launched that manifesto in April 2016 "setting the date for a referendum before a majority of the Scottish people have been persuaded that independence [is] the best future for our country is the wrong way round". Scots voted by 62 per cent to 38 per cent a year ago to stay in the EU.

  • Leroy Wright