- Brexit Bill passes through Parliament without amendments
- Theresa May rules out "divisive" independence referendum before Brexit
- Scottish First Minister has vowed to hold second referendum
- Nicola Sturgeon to demand EU deal for Scotland
- Labour MPs angry as Jeremy Corbyn backs second Scottish vote
Theresa May has ruled out Nicola Sturgeon’s plans for a new Scottish independence referendum before Brexit, but postponed triggering Article 50 after the First Minister’s demands caught her by surprise.
In a day of high drama, Ms Sturgeon appeared to wrong-foot No 10 when she announced she would set the wheels in motion for a second referendum next week, and insisted the ballot should take place between autumn 2018 and spring 2019 – while the Brexit negotiations are still going on.
The Prime Minister issued a stern rebuke, telling her “politics is not a game”, and accusing her of “tunnel vision”.
Sources close to Mrs May said she would not allow a referendum until several months after Britain’s EU exit.
Hours after Mrs May’s riposte, Downing Street made the unexpected announcement that the Prime Minister will not now invoke Article 50 before March 27.
The Article 50 Bill is expected to receive royal assent from the Queen this morning, and it had been widely anticipated that Mrs May would choose today to make the historic announcement. Whitehall departments had been told to work to a March 14 deadline.
Downing Street yesterday insisted that the Prime Minister had always intended to wait until the end of the month, but Ms Sturgeon’s announcement left Mrs May scrambling to seize back the initiative.
The referendum row overshadowed Mrs May’s achievement in successfully steering the Article 50 Bill through the Commons last night.
David Davis, the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, said Britain stands on the threshold of the "most important negotiation for a generation" after Parliament gave Mrs May the power to trigger Brexit.
Yesterday evening the Government's Brexit Bill cleared though both Houses of Parliament, paving the way for her to trigger Article 50.
Peers in the House of Lords backed down and accepted the supremacy of elected MPs after they rejected amendments on the issue of giving MPs a “meaningful vote” on the final Brexit deal and guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens.
Speaking after the result, Mr Davis said: “Parliament has today backed the Government in its determination to get on with the job of leaving the EU and negotiating a positive new partnership with its remaining member states.
“We have a plan to build a global Britain, and take advantage of its new place in the world by forging new trading links.
“So we will trigger Article 50 by the end of this month as planned and deliver an outcome that works in the interests of the whole of the UK.”
A threatened Tory rebellion on the issue of giving MPs a “meaningful vote” on the final Brexit deal failed to materialise, with the result that two Lords amendments to the Bill were defeated in the Commons.
Mrs May and Ms Sturgeon now appear set for a prolonged and bitter fight. And Mrs May faces the unprecedented challenge of negotiating Brexit while attempting to see off a new campaign for Scottish independence.
The Prime Minister said: “The tunnel vision the SNP has shown today is deeply regrettable; it sets Scotland on a course for more uncertainty and division, creating huge uncertainty.
“And this is at a time when the evidence is that… the majority of the Scottish people don’t want a second independence referendum.”
Drawing attention to Ms Sturgeon’s questionable record on domestic policy, Mrs May told her that “instead of playing politics with the future of our country the Scottish Government should focus on delivering good government and services for the people of Scotland”.
Ms Sturgeon claimed she had been forced to act because Mrs May had refused to consider a special Brexit deal for Scotland that would allow it to remain part of the single market.
Her decision to call for a referendum as early as next year represents a huge gamble; a BMG poll for the Herald newspaper yesterday showed 44 per cent of Scots opposing independence, with just 41 per cent supporting it.
Equally significantly, 49 per cent said there should be no referendum before Brexit, with just 39 per cent wanting one.
The First Minister said she would next week ask the Scottish Parliament to agree the details of a Section 30 order with Westminster – the legal process that allows a referendum to be held.
She argued that by autumn next year the shape of the UK’s Brexit deal with the EU would be clearer, giving Scots a chance to decide between a future as part of the Union but outside the EU, or a future outside the Union but as part of the EU.
If Mrs May refused, the Government would not only have “sunk the ship” for Scotland, which voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU, but would be “puncturing Scotland’s lifeboat” as well, it was claimed.
Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Conservative leader, said the timetable demanded by Ms Sturgeon would “force people to vote blind on the biggest political decision a country could face” because they would not know the details of the Brexit deal by then.
Although Downing Street would not officially be drawn on the timing of any referendum – or even if Mrs May would allow one – it is understood that Mrs May will put off a ballot until several months after Brexit.
It means she will block a referendum until at least summer 2019, though she is unlikely to refuse one altogether, as doing so would risk stoking nationalist fervour north of the border.
MPs celebrate Brexit Bill passing
So lots of Tory MPs celebrating passing of the Brexit Act in Parliament tonight - Greek olives... Italian wine... even the water is French. pic.twitter.com/pkPev9QY5F— Harry Cole (@MrHarryCole) March 13, 2017
David Davis reacts to vote...
David Davis, Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, has responded to this evening's vote.
Parliament has today backed the Government in its determination to get on with the job of leaving the EU and negotiating a positive new partnership with its remaining member states.
We are now on the threshold of the most important negotiation for our country in a generation.
We have a plan to build a Global Britain, and take advantage of its new place in the world by forging new trading links.
So we will trigger Article 50 by the end of this month as planned and deliver an outcome that works in the interests of the whole of the UK.
Brexit Bill passes
The final amendment to the Brexit Bill has passed 118 votes to 274.
It means the Notification of Withdrawal Bill has officially cleared Parliament and Theresa May is free to trigger Article 50.
It now needs royal assent, which means the Bill requires the Queen's approval.
Peers vote on 'meaningful vote' amendment
Peers are now voting on the Lib Dem amendment which would give MPs and peers a veto over the final Brexit deal.
And we're off. Lords voting on final 'meaningful vote' amendment.— Paul Waugh (@paulwaugh) March 13, 2017
Doomed to defeat but once this is done, Brexit bill will hv cleared Parl
'We are leaving the EU- with or without a deal'
Lord Bridges, the Tory minister is winding down the debate and urging MPs to vote against the amendment.
He insists Parliament will be able to scrutinise the government over the course of the next two years.
We are leaving the EU, either through the deal we have agreed or without a deal.
Lady Ludford, the Lib Dem peer, says the government has repeatedly insisted parliament will get a vote on Brexit.
So why not just add the amendment to the Bill?
LibDem Lords shadow Brexit minister Tweets....
'A dangerous step'
Lord Taverne, the Lib Dem peer, hits out at the "a dangerous step" towards the doctrine that "the people’s will must always prevail".
He says this was the modus operandi favoured by Mussolini, Hilter and Stalin.
Lib Dem Lord Taverne suggests MPs who backed Remain but voted for Brexit are a bit like Hitler, Mussolini or Stalin...— Ned Simons (@nedsimons) March 13, 2017
'Shortest suicide note in history'
Lord Lea, the Labour peer, jokes about Michael Foot’s 1983 manifesto- the “longest suicide note in history”.
He quips that Theresa May's Brexit Bill, which is only two lines, is “the shortest suicide note in history”.
Labour peer Lord Lea describes the #brexitbill as the "shortest suicide note in history"— Laura Hughes (@Laura_K_Hughes) March 13, 2017
Lord Pannick, a Crossbench peer, says the Government made "no effort" to move in Lords direction on meaningful vote.
"But it is now time for this House to give way", he says.
He accuses the Lib Dems of making a "completely pointless gesture" by pressing this amendment after it has already been defeated in the Commons.
This is only the beginning of the process of leaving the EU, he says.
A much more complex Bill will be brought through to oversee the Great Repeal Bill.
Lord Pannick says he has won the argument on "meaningful vote" but it is now time for the House of Lords to give way to the House of Commons— John Rentoul (@JohnRentoul) March 13, 2017
Lord Pannick giving LibDem Baroness Ludford a proper telling off, accuses her of wasting everyone’s time by pushing the amendment.— Martin Hoscik (@MartinHoscik) March 13, 2017
Where is Lord Heseltine?
The Tory peer was sacked from his role as a Government adviser last Tuesday evening for rebelling over Brexit.
The former Conservative deputy prime minister, however, is not sitting in the chamber this evening for the debate.
Baroness Ludford says sorry not to see Lord Heseltine in chamber on #Brexit Bill. Sparks mutterings given his rare appearances— Nick Lester (@nickolester) March 13, 2017
Lib Dems reintroduce meaningful vote amendment
Baroness Ludford, the Lib Dem peer, is now reintroducing the "meaningful vote" amendment.
Government wins vote
Peers have defeated the Lib Dem's amendment on EU nationals by 274 votes to 135- a majority of 139.
Peers defeat Lib Dem's amendment on EU nationals by 274 votes to 135- a maj of 139 #brexitbill— Laura Hughes (@Laura_K_Hughes) March 13, 2017
Peers vote on EU citizens amendment
The debate has wrapped up quickly and peers are now voting on the amendment.
'It’s very important not to drop the bat'
Lord Bridges is wrapping up on behalf of the Government.
He says EU partners want "speedy agreement" once the negotiations have started.
Lord Oates then finishes the debate for the Lib Dems.
What I really don't understand is the position of the Labour front bench.
If you want to get the ball back across the net it’s very important not to drop the bat.
'It is clear the government is not for turning'
Lady Hayter of Kentish Town is concluding the debate for Labour.
She says that while the Government position not "moral" or "ethical" , the party accepts the view of the elected MPs.
The peer says Lib Dems are privately boasting that opposing this Bill is boosting membership and this voite shouldn't be about them.
The peer says the government’s position is clear and accuses them of "giving people false hope".
It is clear the government is not for turning.
I’ll take no lessons from the Lib Dems who confessed to me outside the chamber that this is appealing to their core vote and they’re piling on members because of it.
That is not taking this House as an elected body seriously.
'Convictions don't change'
Lord Wigley insists that voting to protect the rights of EU citizens is a matter of conviction.
Convictions don't change because of a whipped vote in the other place.
John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, says:
I will find it difficult if we want a quick resolution for EU citizens who live in this country, to continue further delay.
Peer calls for 'a generous gesture'
Lord Brown of Eaton-Under-Heywood, a crossbencher, says Article 50 should be triggered "sooner rather than later".
But he says he will still support the Lib Dem's amendment on EU nationals.
He says UK citizens believe the Government's position will strengthened through such "a generous gesture."
The peer says he has never voted before for “ping pong”.
David Davis watches as peers
David Davis watches as peers debate MPs' rejection of Lords amendments to the Brexit bill pic.twitter.com/FOKbUJv0z1— Esther Webber (@estwebber) March 13, 2017
Lib Dems call for EU amendment to be resubmitted
Lord Oates, a Lib Den peer, is calling for peers to vote again on the amendment protecting the rights of EU citizens.
He says peers have the right to insist on the amendment and that they have an obligation to do the right thing.
If guarantees aren't made in the Bill, he says, EU citizens will be forced to wait two years to learn what their future holds.
It is about people’s lives.
Labour Lords will abstain in Brexit ping pong - after slightly increased Commons majorities for Gov .. Lib Dems want to ping it back -— Faisal Islam (@faisalislam) March 13, 2017
Lib Dem peers decrying Lords' refusal to press amendment on EU national rights. Say power has been used for less eg lorry reflector strips— Alan Travis (@alantravis40) March 13, 2017
Bill returns to the Lords
Lord Bridges, the Brexit minister, has kicked off the debate in the House of Lords.
He says the Commons rejected their amendments and now they must let is pass.
Now on the 70th hour of debate on 137-word bill says minister Lord Bridges #article50bill— PARLY (@ParlyApp) March 13, 2017
'Labour will challenge the government’s plans'
Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party, has issued this response to the defeat of Lords amendments to the Brexit Bill:
It is deeply disappointing that the government has denied the British people, through Parliament, greater oversight over the Brexit negotiations and refused to guarantee the rights of EU citizens, who have made their lives in the UK.
We will continue to demand that the stress they, and British citizens living in the EU, are being put under is ended, and they are given the right to remain.
Article 50 is being triggered because of the result of the EU referendum.
But it is only the start of the process. Labour, at every stage, will challenge the government’s plans for a bargain basement Brexit with Labour’s alternative of a Brexit that puts jobs, living standards and rights first.
Labour will not oppose Bill
NEW: Lib Dems will continue to oppose government in Lords BUT Labour will not. Vote likely around 9pm. #Brexit Bill will pass tonight.— Darren McCaffrey (@DMcCaffreySKY) March 13, 2017
MPs defeat Lords
MPs have defeated the Lords amendment to guarantee EU citizens rights in Article 50 bill by 335 to 287.
A majority of 48- the Government have increased their majority of 42.
Just two Tory rebels vote against Govt on EU citizens rights on Brexit bill. pic.twitter.com/yik2oWKxAc— Paul Waugh (@paulwaugh) March 13, 2017
Who will rebel?
MPs are now filing out of the chamber to vote on the Lords amendment determining the the rights of EU nationals.
Interesting. Looks like no rebellion on EU citizens. Anna Soubry, Nicky Morgan etc head into voting lobby with Govt. Heidi Allen not moving.— Jack Maidment (@jrmaidment) March 13, 2017
Heidi Allen appears to be abstaining on EU citizens amendment. A whip, Chris Pincher, tries to talk her out of it. pic.twitter.com/0LcmY4Q6I5— Tom Newton Dunn (@tnewtondunn) March 13, 2017
'We were not elected to be lemmings'
Caroline Lucas, the only Green MP, makes her case in the Commons.
Speaking in favour of the amendments, she says:
We live in strange times. Government seem keen to go to great lengths to stop Parliament being involved in any way.
I appeal to my colleagues - defy anger.
Stand up to notion that demanding Parliamentary accountability is undemocratic.
We were not elected to be lemmings!
'Boris could be PM in two years '
Chris Leslie, the Labour MP, says the Foreign Secretary could be Prime Minster by the end of the negotiations.
He warns that Boris Johnson thinks its "perfectly okay" to leave the EU without a deal.
He also hits out at Brexiters, who "are trying to muzzle Parliament for the next two years."
Labour's Chris Leslie says we don't know who we will be dealing with by end of two-year Brexit negotiation. Suggests Boris may be PM by then— Patrick Kidd (@patrick_kidd) March 13, 2017
Tory MP: 'Government's approach is frankly deranged'
Dominic Grieve, the former Tory Attorney General, describes the Government's decision not to grant MPs a final vote as "frankly deranged".
He says he will rebel against the Government because "someone's got to put down a marker."
The Tory MP he will not be supporting the Government because of a lack of process.
Dominic Grieve says Govt's approach to #brexitbill is "frankly deranged" & says he will rebel because "someone's got to put down a marker"— Laura Hughes (@Laura_K_Hughes) March 13, 2017
Dominic Grieve, former AG, says he will rebel against Govt and calls it's approach 'deranged': 'Someone's got to put down a marker'— Steven Swinford (@Steven_Swinford) March 13, 2017
Group of Tory MPs nodding with Dominic grieve in saying can't support govt opposing giving parliament a meaningful vote... #brexithaos— stellacreasy (@stellacreasy) March 13, 2017
Tory rebellion brewing
Tory rebels say DD's words not enough for them. Will still defy the Govt, but undecided yet by abstaining or voting against. https://t.co/JPhJQr0KMS— Tom Newton Dunn (@tnewtondunn) March 13, 2017
'We might as well pack up and go home'
Hilary Benn says that if we buy an argument that the Lords amendment on a final vote should be rejected because "its justiciable- on that basis we might as well pack up and go home".
It is time to put aside division.
Having parliament behind you is not a weakness it's a strength.
H. Benn: D Davis talks of "strings attached". We, Parliament, are not strings..having Parliament behind you not a weakness, its a strength— Faisal Islam (@faisalislam) March 13, 2017
'Government will be taken to court'
Mark Harper, a former immigration Tory Minister, warns that the amendment on a final vote would result in people taking the Government to court.
He says the "government could be more generous" than the Lords amendment on EU citizens rights, because it doesn't cover EU citizens who are technically legally here.
Tory MP recovering from sepsis makes vote
I'm still recovering from sepsis but I was determined to vote to make sure that the decision taken in last June's referendum is implemented pic.twitter.com/anBk4kAGto— Mike Wood MP (@mikejwood) March 13, 2017
'Stubbornness can be a sign of weakness, not strength'
Nick Clegg, the former Lib Dem leader, says it "simply beggars belief" that EU nationals have had a question mark placed over their heads due to the "inaction of this Government."
He says there is no early way this Government can separate the 3 million EU citizens already here from those who might want to come here without red tape.
The former deputy prime minister predicts Theresa May could find herself in a position where she will have to introduce something "strikingly similar"to ID cards.
I would simply say to the Government is this: stubbornness can be a sign of weakness, not strength.
Condemning lack of accountability in Brussels while undermining it right here is a slight of hand that should never be forgotten.
Nick Clegg declares an interest -his wife is Spanish, his mother is Dutch.."it beggars belief that people like them have a q-mark over them"— Faisal Islam (@faisalislam) March 13, 2017
Nick Clegg, speaks passionately for EU national rights - says two most important women in his life - Dutch mother and Spanish wife affected.— Darren McCaffrey (@DMcCaffreySKY) March 13, 2017
'It cannot be right'
Anna Soubry, a pro-European Tory MP, says it "perverse" and "cannot be right" that MPs have no say if there is no deal.
She accepts this country has had the Brexit debate, but this is about "parliamentary sovereignty."
The Tory MP says it would be "remarkable" if the Government could negotiate three deals on trade, customs and security in just 18 months.
Anna Soubry: Only 52% voted for Brexit. I would urge the Government to allow Parliamentary sovereignty to reign in event of no deal— Steven Swinford (@Steven_Swinford) March 13, 2017
She says Britain faces the break-up of the union and
She says ist not fair to suggest that the amendment on granting MPS a vote wold undermine the Prime Minister's negotiating hand.
She says European leaders "know how divisive our nation is" and they "they know it was only 52 per cent that voted for us to leave the European Union."
'Government can't be trusted to run a bath'
Stephen Gethins, an SNP MP, urges MPs to vote for amendments.
He says the House of Lords have given MPs another chance "to spare the blushes" of the House of Commons.
"The lack of respect for devolved administrations has led us to the place we are in today", he says.
The MP says the Government can't be trusted to "run a bath," let alone a very complicated set of negotiations.
He warns against handing Theresa May a "blank cheque".
And he says Parliament should be ashamed of causing so much uncertainty for EU nationals living in Britain.
Stephen Gethins, SNP, ups the share price of mind bleach: "I’m not sure we could trust [Tories] to run a bath or a bidet for that matter."— Dan Bloom (@danbloom1) March 13, 2017
'No deal could lead to legal battle'
Sir Oliver Letwin, a Tory MP, insists that European leaders would offer Britain a bad deal if they know UK politicians will have a vote.
He also warns that this could lead to a legal battle over whether Theresa May had the legal right to take Britain out of the EU without a deal.
May has 'obsession with clean Bill'
Keir Starmer says a "no deal" result from the negotiations and automatic reliance on WTO rules would be the "worst possible" deal for Britain.
The Labour MP says the amendment guaranteeing MPs a vote on final deal would stop Theresa May going with this option.
He says Theresa May has an "obsession with a clean and unamended Bill."
This is Keir Starmer's best dispatch box performance so far. Says PM has an obsession with a clean Bill but EU migrants is moral issue— Patrick Kidd (@patrick_kidd) March 13, 2017
'What's the problem?'
Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit Secretary, says Labour support both amendments submitted by the peers.
The Labour MP says his question to the Government is "what's the problem?"
He says the way to prevent delay is to accept the amendments and "get on with it."
Starmer says he won't accept promises from Davis Davis because "Secretaries of State can change".
He says Labour support the amendment on EU nationals because it would "set the right tone" in negotiations.
'We should send back the Lords a clear bill'
David Davis rounds up his argument on behalf of the Government.
These amendments are unnecessary and will undermine the Govt's position in negotiations.
Any prospect of us staying in the EU will encourage other side to give us worse deal.
It is clear to the Government that we should send back the Lords a clear Bill.
'Parliament will have vote on final deal'
David Davis insists that the Government will grant Parliament a vote on the final deal before European politicians.
"Of course Parliament can if it wishes have a vote or debate on any issue", he says.
"It is not for a minister to try and constrain that."
David Davis says parlt can vote on any issue -when asked by Nicky Morgan to be clear MPs would get a say on Brexit whether deal or no deal— Rowena Mason (@rowenamason) March 13, 2017
But he says that there cannot be a signal sent that the votes in either house would overturn the result of June's referendum.
He was responding to an intervention from Nicky Morgan, who says that Parliament will "find a way" to have its say on the final Brexit deal.
She asks him to "officially recognise that position from the dispatch box".
David Davis: What we cannot have is any suggestion that the votes in either house will overturn the result of the referendum— Steven Swinford (@Steven_Swinford) March 13, 2017
'I take moral responsibility for guarantees to EU citizens'
David Davis says he takes "moral responsibility" for guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens living in the UK after Brexit.
And towards four million EU nationals in Britain and UK ex-pats resident on the continent and wanted swift agreement on their status.
And says he hopes that a guarantee of their future rights would be confirmed in an exchange of letters in advance of the completion of the final deal, in order to end uncertainty for foreign nationals as quickly as possible.
Nothing will change for any EU citizen in the UK without parliament's approval.
Government urges MPs to vote against amendments
David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, is speaking in the Commons.
He urges the Commons to vote against these amendments.
"Over the last five weeks we have seen Parliament at its best", he says.
Boris Johnson has just walked into camber, joining David Davis and Liam Fox for #Brexit debate.— Darren McCaffrey (@DMcCaffreySKY) March 13, 2017
"MPs and peers have spoken with passion and sincerity."
On the amendment guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens, he says: "We will not do anything that will undermine the rights of EU citizens in Britain."
He says that the Government will not go into the negotiation with its "hands tied."
David Davis: want to prioritise all four million EU citizens in UK and U.K. In EU, quotes Polish PM, of course rights should be reciprocal— Faisal Islam (@faisalislam) March 13, 2017
The Tory Cabinet minister says the UK should be working towards a reciprocal deal which protects the rights of Briton currently living across Europe. a
He insists that all other EU leaders have made it clear that this cannot happen until Article 50 is triggered.
He says the government came up with "the most straightforward possible bill" and it should pass "with no strings attached".
These amendments are "unnecessary", he says.
David Davis: We take very seriously our responsibility to EU citizens living in UK. I am confident we will reach a swift deal— Steven Swinford (@Steven_Swinford) March 13, 2017
MPs debate Article 50 Bill
The House of Commons is now kicking off two hours of debate.
They will vote on two amendments to the Article 50 Bill passed by the House of Lords last week.
Here are the amendments:
Within three months of exercising the power under section 1(1), Ministers of the Crown must bring forward proposals to ensure that citizens of another European Union or European Economic Area country and their family members, who are legally resident in the United Kingdom on the day on which this Act is passed, continue to be treated in the same way with regards to their EU derived-rights and, in the case of residency, their potential to acquire such rights in the future.
(1) The prime minister may not conclude an agreement with the European Union under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union, on the terms of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from theEuropean Union, without the approval of both Houses of Parliament.
(2) Such approval shall be required before the European Parliament debates and votes on that agreement.
(3) The prior approval of both Houses of Parliament shall also be required in relation to an agreement on the future relationship of the United Kingdom with the European Union.
(4) The prior approval of both Houses of Parliament shall also be required in relation to any decision by the Prime Minister that the United Kingdom shall leave the European Union without an agreement as to the applicable terms.
Both amendments are expected not to pass.
'We are waiting for the Scottish Parliament to reach a decision'
Downing Street refused to be drawn on whether Theresa May would facilitate the referendum, stressing that it had not yet been backed by Holyrood.
The Prime Minister's official spokesman said:
We have said there shouldn't be a second referendum.
But as for the issue, it hasn't gone through the Scottish Parliament yet.
We are waiting for the Scottish Parliament to reach a decision.
But we are 100% clear that we do not believe there should be a second independence referendum.
They said at the time this would decide the issue for a generation.
Scottish Socialist Party: 'We want independence but don't focus referendum on EU'
The Scottish Socialist Party backs independence but does not think the EU should be the main issue of another campaign.
Spokesman Colin Fox said: "The Scottish Socialist Party voted to Remain in June 2016 but we did so only as the lesser of two evils.
"The EU is an anti-democratic bureaucracy based in Brussels, utterly beholden to Europe's neo-liberal corporate elite.
"We voted to Remain only because Brexit was worse, offering a xenophobic cocktail of Little Englander bigotry and backwardness.
"We believe the majority of Remain voters in Scotland felt the same way.
"As far as we are concerned, the EU is not the issue to win Indyref2. That victory can only be achieved by persuading Scotland's working-class majority they will be economically, socially and politically better off with self-determination."
Nigel Dodds accuses SNP of 'exploiting' Brexit to win independence
Democratic Unionist Party deputy leader Nigel Dodds said independence would leave a black hole in Scotland's finances and bring about economic consequences far worse than any of the dire predictions made before the EU referendum.
He said: "This is another prime example of opportunistic nationalism seizing an opportunity and attempting to exploit it for their own narrow ends."
Ruth Davidson full statement on second referendum
The leader of the Scottish Conservatives said: “Nicola Sturgeon has today given up acting as First Minister for all of Scotland.
“People have said time and again they do not want to go back to the division of a second referendum.
“Nicola Sturgeon promised the 2014 referendum would be ‘once in a generation’.
“Today she has ignored the majority in Scotland who do not want a referendum and has decided instead to double down on division and uncertainty.
“The First Minister’s proposal offers Scotland the worst of all worlds. Her timetable would force people to vote blind on the biggest political decision a country could face.
“This is utterly irresponsible and has been taken by the First Minister purely for partisan political reasons.
“Both No and Yes voters have been urging her to put this to one side – but because of her own rash decision to use Brexit in a bid to lever support for independence, she has ignored them completely.
“Quite simply, today the First Minister has failed in her job to act in the interests of all of us.”
Theresa May: 'Politics is not a game'
Theresa May has issued a full statement following Nicola Sturgeon's speech this morning.
In a BBC News clip she said: "The tunnel vision the SNP has shown today is deeply regrettable, it sets Scotland on a course for more uncertainty and division creating huge uncertainty.
PM's response to Sturgeon - 'politics is not a game'— Laura Kuenssberg (@bbclaurak) March 13, 2017
"And this is at a time when the evidence is that the Scottish people, the majority of the Scottish people, don't want a second independence referendum so instead of playing politics with the future of our country the Scottish Government should focus on delivering good government and services for the people of Scotland.
"Politics is not a game."
Scottish secretary: Nicola Sturgeon 'irresponsible' to call second vote
Scotland Secretary David Mundell told Sky News the SNP has an "obsession" with independence and criticised Nicola Sturgeon's "irresponsible" call for a referendum.
He said: “I think that the Government has shown very good faith in working with the Scottish Government in trying to ensure that we get the best deal for Scotland and the rest of the UK as we leave the EU.
He adds: “If there was a political will then it would be possible to reach agreement, but I’m afraid today’s irresponsible actions by Nicola Sturgeon demonstrate that this is really nothing at all to do with Brexit, and is all about pursuing a tunnel vision obsession about independence and having another referendum.
“Nicola Sturgeon’s timing’s deliberate just as her timing was deliberate three hours after the Brexit vote was announced; she started talking about independence and she’s been banging on about it every day since the 24th June…
“What I say to her now is politics isn’t a game, take step back, be the First Minister of Scotland, not just the leader of the SNP and look at what needs to be done to get the best possible deal as we go in to these unprecedented negotiations, to get a good deal for Scotland, to get a good deal for the rest of the UK."
Nato secretary general: If Scotland leaves UK it will leave the alliance
Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg has told Sky News: “If it happens [Scottish independence] then the UK will continue as a member of Nato, but a new independent state has to apply for membership and then it’s up to the 28 allies to decide whether we will have a new member because all decisions in Nato are taken by consensus.”
Asked if Scotland could expect to join automatically he added: “Not automatically, because by leaving the UK it will also leave Nato. But of course it’s absolutely possible to apply for membership.”
This presents a problem for Nicola Sturgeon, who has triggered a second vote in a bid to secure the current terms Scotland enjoys as a member of the EU.
Alex Salmond: We will win independence referendum
Former first minister Alex Salmond has "absolutely no doubt there will be a resounding vote in favour of independence" in a second referendum.
Mr Salmond resigned after losing the 2014 vote but told the BBC News channel: "By either the autumn of next year or spring 2019 we'll know the outcome of the Brexit talks because it has to go to all of the parliaments across the EU in order to be ratified.
"We will also know what the Scottish Government has to say following the conversations they've been having in Europe in terms of what the alternative for Scotland is.
"When these two options are put before the Scottish people I've got absolutely no doubt there will be a resounding vote in favour of independence and keeping that 1,000-year long European connection that Scotland as a European nation has had."
IFS: Scotland could be forced to join the euro if nation votes for independence
An independent Scotland would have to hike taxes or cut spending and is likely to face political pressure to adopt the euro as the price of EU membership, a leading economist has said.
Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, said public spending was more than £1,000 higher per person in Scotland than in the rest of the UK, despite tax revenue being similar.
He added that the fall in the price of oil had made Scotland's financial position more difficult since the independence referendum in 2014.
Brexit had made the situation more complicated because if Scotland was inside the European Union single market and the rest of the UK was outside, trade with its largest partner could suffer.
Setting out why spending cuts or tax hikes may be required, Mr Johnson said: "Scotland looks very much like the rest of the UK in terms of its income per head, so we get just about as much tax per person from everyone in Scotland as we do in the rest of the UK.
"But spending in Scotland is more than £1,000 per person higher than spending in the rest of the UK.
"So what that means is that there is a big transfer of money from the rest of the UK to Scotland and, obviously, if Scotland were to become independent it would have to either reduce its spending by more than £1,000 per head or increase its taxes by more than £1,000 per head."
The question of whether Scotland would be able to continue to use sterling was one of the major economic arguments during the 2014 referendum - and the UK's departure from the EU could make that more unlikely.
He said: "It would clearly be more difficult to maintain the pound if the UK was outside the EU and Scotland was inside and the pressure on Scotland politically from the rest of the EU to join the euro would be significant.
"But in the end that would be a political, as much as an economic, choice."
Mr Johnson told BBC Radio 4's World At One: "Two things have changed since the last Scottish referendum. The first is that the Scottish fiscal situation has got worse, relative to that of the rest of the UK, because the oil price has gone down.
"And with spending per head more than £1,000 more in Scotland than it is in the rest of the UK that creates quite a significant fiscal problem going forward.
"Secondly, of course, the Brexit vote means that the UK looks like it is going to come out of the single market but if an independent Scotland were to be in the EU - within the single market - and the rest of the UK were to be out of it, then that helps Scotland in terms of its access to the rest of the European economies but potentially hinders it very badly in terms of its access to the UK market, depending on the political and economic agreement that was come to."
Could Wales be next to back independence?
Wales should be given a vote on its future if the planned Scottish referendum results in a yes vote for independence, Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood has said.
Ms Wood said that a Scottish independence vote could signal "the end of the UK as a state" and should be followed by an opportunity for the people of Wales to go to the ballot box to determine whether issues affecting the country should be decided in Wales.
The Plaid Cymru leader said that "a national debate to explore all of the options" would be needed in Wales, pointing out that last year's EU referendum did not offer the option of remaining in the "England and Wales" entity, which would be created by Scottish withdrawal.
"The announcement from the Scottish Government today shows that any failure by the UK Government to recognise Scotland's interests could lead to the end of the UK as a state," said Ms Wood. "In that situation, Wales would need to decide its own future.
"A national debate to explore all of the options, including that of an independent Wales, must take place in Wales when that scenario becomes a realistic one.
"If the UK Government's Brexit negotiation also leads to the Welsh national interest being overlooked, support will grow for greater control of our own affairs in Wales.
"Now is a good time for people in Wales to think about what is in our own national interests and how we can best unlock our country's potential in this new constitutional scenario."
Video: Big-headed 'PM' stalks Westminster to protest over Brexit
Campaigners including one wearing a large head of Theresa May hold a protest in Westminster claiming the PM is trying to muzzle both Parliament and the people over Brexit.
CBI Scotland responds to second independence referendum
Hugh Aitken, CBI Scotland Director, said: “Scottish businesses have acted with resilience since the EU Referendum, and, in an already uncertain environment, their priority is clarity as soon as possible on what a future deal could look like.
“What’s important is that the needs of Scotland – and the other devolved nations - are heard and understood in the discussions on the UK’s future relationship with Europe. That’s where the CBI’s focus will be.
“The Scottish and UK Governments must continue to work together, with business, to ensure the best deal from the negotiations for Scottish firms, and this work should continue as a matter of priority.”
EU: Scotland will have to apply to remain inside the union
Ukip: SNP seeking 'maximum disruption, uncertainty and mayhem'
UKIP's Scottish MEP David Coburn said: "The prospect of a second independence referendum between the Autumn of 2018 and the spring of 2019 is utterly preposterous.
"The UK will still be in negotiations with the EU at this time – the SNP seem to wish to cause maximum disruption, uncertainty and overall mayhem.
"In 2014 the Scottish people decided decisively to remain British, in 2016 less people voted to remain in the EU than voted to be British in 2014."
He added: "What the SNP are proposing for Scotland is a future of 'austerity Max". The very idea that it would be advantageous for us to leave the UK for a berth as a small but proud nation in the EU is foolish.
"We would be condemned to an austere damaging regime that would skip us of autonomy and and leave us open to penal austerity measures such as those imposed on other small nations.
"They would rather be ruled from Frankfurt and Berlin rather than Edinburgh and London.
"Scotland’s Education system is failing, roads are crumbling and the NHS has seen better days – therefore they must revert to these diversionary tactics."
Jeremy Corbyn: Labour will oppose independence but won't block referendum vote in Parliament
Jeremy Corbyn, said: "The 2014 Scottish Independence referendum was billed as a once in a generation event.
"The result was decisive and there is no appetite for another referendum.
"Labour believes it would be wrong to hold another so soon and Scottish Labour will oppose it in the Scottish parliament.
"If, however, the Scottish parliament votes for one, Labour will not block that democratic decision at Westminster.
"If there is another referendum, Labour will oppose independence because it is not in the interests of any part of the country to break up the UK."
If there is #indyref2, Labour will oppose independence because it is not in the interests of any part of the country to break up the UK.— Jeremy Corbyn MP (@jeremycorbyn) March 13, 2017
Full Nicola Sturgeon speech
You can read the First Minister's full speech here.
Open Britain: 'Hollow promises of Leave campaigners exposed by Sturgeon speech'
Pat McFadden MP, leading supporter of Open Britain, said: “The First Minister’s announcement exposes the hollow promises of Leave campaigners who assured us that Brexit would not result in a broken United Kingdom.
“The Government’s headlong rush to hard Brexit, and particularly their decision to leave the Single Market, has boosted the ambitions of those who seek to break up our country.
“The SNP said the referendum in 2014 was a ‘once in a generation’ decision. They have now gone back on that with this new bid for separation.
“Ministers now need to deal with the very real prospect of the breakup of the Union, that many of us thought we had secured the future of in 2014.”
Scottish Greens vow to support Sturgeon, handing her a majority
Tim Farron: 'SNP have gone back on their word, second vote would be worst of all worlds'
Commenting on Nicola Sturgeon’s plans for a second independence referendum, Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said: “Scottish Liberal Democrats stood for election last year on a platform to oppose a new independence referendum. That is what we will do.
“The First Minister refused to state that Scotland would be a full EU member under her plan.
"The SNP are risking taking Scotland out of both the UK and out of the EU. Being outside both would be the worst of all worlds for Scotland.
“We believe that the SNP have gone back on their word that 2014 was “once in a generation.”
Government responds: 'Second referendum would be divisive and cause huge economic uncertainty at the worst possible time'
A UK Government spokesman said: “As the Prime Minister has set out, the UK Government seeks a future partnership with the EU that works for the whole of the United Kingdom.
"The UK Government will negotiate that agreement, but we will do so taking into account the interests of all of the nations of the UK.
"We have been working closely with all the devolved administrations - listening to their proposals, and recognising the many areas of common ground, including workers’ rights, the status of EU citizens living in the UK and our security from crime and terrorism.
“Only a little over two years ago people in Scotland voted decisively to remain part of our United Kingdom in a referendum which the Scottish Government defined as a ‘once in a generation’ vote.
"The evidence clearly shows that a majority of people in Scotland do not want a second independence referendum. Another referendum would be divisive and cause huge economic uncertainty at the worst possible time.
“ The Scottish Government should focus on delivering good government and public services for the people in Scotland.”
Scottish Labour: 'Scotland is already divided enough, we do not want to be divided again'
Scottish Tories vow to block second referendum request next week
Ruth Davidson, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, has vowed her party will block Nicola Sturgeon's request for permission to hold a second vote next week.
Nicola Sturgeon has today chosen the path of further division and uncertainty. We will vote against any request for a Section 30 next week.— Ruth Davidson (@RuthDavidsonMSP) March 13, 2017
Does Sturgeon want May to block her second referendum?
An interesting point being made on Twitter.
Nicola Sturgeon needs the permission of Theresa May in order to trigger a second referendum. The problem is, once permission has been given the timetable isn't set in stone so Ms Sturgeon could use the potential vote as a way to get her way on Brexit.
So is it possible that the First Minister wants the Prime Minister to block her vote?
Wonder if Sturgeon is betting that May will deny a referendum on her (tight) timetable.— Helen Lewis (@helenlewis) March 13, 2017
'Yes' campaign has already raised over £17,000
There is already a website up and running for the 'Yes' side of the referendum campaign to take Scotland out of the UK.
According to the website it has raised over £17,000 of a £1million target ahead of a second vote.
Nicola Sturgeon speech extract
“The Scottish Government's mandate for offering this choice is beyond doubt. So next week I will seek the approval of the Scottish Parliament to open discussions with the UK Government on the details of a Section 30 order – the procedure that will enable the Scottish Parliament to legislate for an independence referendum.
“The UK Government was clear in 2014 that an independence referendum should be, in their words, 'made in Scotland, by the people of Scotland' – that is a principle that should be respected today. The detailed arrangements for a referendum – including its timing – should be for the Scottish Parliament to decide.
“It is important that Scotland is able to exercise the right to choose our own future at a time when the options are clearer than they are now, but before it is too late to decide on our own path. By the time a choice comes to be made, there must be greater clarity about Brexit and its implications for us.
“It is just as important that there is clarity about the implications of independence. And there will be.
“We will be frank about the challenges we face and clear about the opportunities independence will give us to secure our relationship with Europe, build a stronger and more sustainable economy and create a fairer society.
“If I ruled out a referendum, I would be deciding – completely unilaterally – that Scotland will follow the UK to a hard Brexit come-what-may, no matter how damaging to our economy and our society it turns out to be.
“That should not be the decision of just one politician – not even the First Minister. It will be decided by the people of Scotland. It will be Scotland's choice.”
Video: Scottish referendum will not be like EU referendum
Nicola Sturgeon speech extract
"Scotland stands at a hugely important crossroads. On the eve of Article 50 being triggered, not only is there no UK wide agreement on the way ahead – the UK Government has not moved even an inch in pursuit of compromise and agreement.
“All of our efforts at compromise have been met with a brick wall of intransigence.
“UK membership of the single market was ruled out with no prior consultation with the Scottish Government or with the other devolved administrations, leaving us facing not just Brexit, but a hard Brexit.
“And far from any prospect of significant new powers for the Scottish Parliament, the UK Government is becoming ever more assertive in its intention to muscle in on the powers we already have. The language of partnership has gone, completely.
“I will continue to stand up for Scotland's interests during the process of Brexit negotiations. But I will take the steps necessary now to make sure that Scotland will have a choice at the end of this process – a choice of whether to follow the UK to a hard Brexit, or to become an independent country able to secure a real partnership of equals with the rest of the UK and our own relationship with Europe.”
Sturgeon: Jeremy Corbyn thinks a second referendum would be 'fine'
The Scottish First Minister has poked fun at the Labour leader after his gaffe over the weekend when he said a second Scottish independence vote would be "fine".
Expect this to keep coming back again and again as the SNP use it to prove Labour is unclear on its position over Scotland.
Unclear how long it could take to secure second independence referendum, Sturgeon admits
The First Minister says she accepts that the Scottish people need to know what Brexit means for them but she also warned that without setting a date for the referendum it would be hard to negotiate a new relationship with the EU.
Ms Sturgeon will now seek the permission of the Scottish Parliament for a second referendum via the section 30 process - she has said she does not know ho long that would take.
Both Houses of Parliament then need to approve the decision before an official campaign would be triggered.
The Electoral Commission typically sets out that there should be six months between the legislation passing and the vote being held. This could slow things down.
Video: 'Scotland's future will be decided by the people'
'I'm not planning not to win'
Sturgeon says she is "not planning not to win" when asked if she would be forced to resign if that happened.
No need for a hard border with independent Scotland, Sturgeon says
There is now a legislative process to go through before a second referendum can be triggered, Sturgeon says.
She adds that there is currently a common travel area and uses the Republic of Ireland example to argue that there would be no need for a hard border between the UK and an independent Scotland.
"There is no reason at all to suggest it would be different in Scotland" she says.
Both sides will now have to put forward their cases but she is clear in rejecting Alistair Darling's comments from earlier this morning when he said she would seek to fight a "fact free" campaign in order to win.
"Lets make it a positive debate about Scotland's future" she says.
'I believe I can win a second referendum'
Nicola Sturgeon says she can win a second independence referendum this time around because of the implications of Brexit for the country.
On the economy she says the benefits of staying in the UK in a post-Brexit landscape are "significantly more challenging" than they were last time the vote was held.
"What puts us in the best possible position", she asks - adding that would be independence.
Video: Sturgeon will secure a second referendum
Sturgeon: 'PM is not willing to compromise'
"I have been genuine and sincere about trying to reach a compromise agreement with the UK Government," Sturgeon says.
She has been criticsed for failing to try hard enough to battle out a deal that would keep the UK united in the face of the decision to leave.
"We have not met with a Government and a Prime Minister who is willing to meet us half way on that ... they have moved away from compromise with language that has appeared to become harder and harder" she says.
Sturgeon says the fact she doesn't know when A50 will be triggered shows how much May has kept her out of the loop— Kylie MacLellan (@kyliemaclellan) March 13, 2017
Sturgeon says it is illuminating that she does not know when the Prime Minister intends to trigger Article 50 and that is part of the problem.
"If Scotland is to have a genuine choice it must be in the way I have set out", she adds.
Scotland can argue to stay in the EU even if UK leaves, Sturgeon says
For Scotland to be in a position to negotiate our own relationship with Europe we must indicate that desire before the UK leaves, Sturgeon says.
She says she accepts it would be a matter for discussion but does not seem to accept the idea that the EU might seek to block Scotland from remaining in after the Brexit vote.
There is currently no mechanism set out for Scotland to stay while the rest of the UK leaves, some would see this as a huge risk.
Sturgeon: Circumstances have changed, we need a second independence vote
The Scottish First Minister says Scotland deserves the chance to vote again because the circumstances have changed in the country post-Brexit.
She has made clear that a vote would only take place when people are able to make an informed choice but she appears to believe this could happen before a formal deal is concluded.
This begs the question about whether the EU would allow Scotland to remain inside the bloc after the rest of the UK leaves, and sets off a lot of complicated questions about timing.
"If I ruled out a referendum I would be deciding... that Scotland would follow the UK to a hard Brexit come what may".
"I am ensuring that Scotland's future will be decided not just by me ... it will be decided by the people of Scotland ... it will be Scotland's choice and I trust the people to make that choice".
Sturgeon confirms she will trigger process for a second independence referendum next week
She says a compromise agreement is unlikely because of the "hard-line" position taken by the Westminster Government so far.
But Ms Sturgeon says that she is still willing to compromise if Theresa May gives Scotland a better deal ahead of the Brexit negotiations. She is leaving the door open for more talks.
The First Minister says she will "take the steps necessary to make sure Scotland will have a choice at the end of this process"
She says she will trigger the formal process to begin a second independence referendum next week but the vote will be held when the situation for the UK is clear, so after the Brexit negotiations are concluded.
She cites the Prime Minister's previous promise that the deal would be clear by the end of next year and says this is the earliest a second referendum vote could take place.
Between the Autumn 2018 and Spring of 2019 would be the time for a vote, she says.
Scotland is being ignored by Theresa May, Sturgeon warns
Sturgeon says she has been trying to find an agreement with the Prime Minister on a UK-wide approach to Brexit and highlights that the Scottish Government's paper on the issue was "published in good faith".
She says she accepted that Scotland would be forced to leave, but called for the nation to be allowed to remain in the single market because the majority of voters in the country backed remain.
"The PM and her Government have been given every opportunity to compromise ... not only is there no UK-wide agreement on the way ahead but the UK Government has not moved even an inch in pursuit of agreement" Sturgeon says.
She accuses Theresa May of presenting a "brick wall of intransigence" and adds that Westminster is trying to "muscle in" on the powers that have already been devolved to Scotland.
"If Scotland can be ignored on an issue as important as our membership of the EU and single market... then our voice can be ignored at any time and on any issue" she warns.
Nicola Sturgeon setting out 'plan to protect Scotland's interests'
The Scottish First Minister is setting out her plan to protect Scotland in the context of the Brexit vote.
She says she wishes the UK hadn't voted to leave the EU and highlights that the majority of people in Scotland didn't do so.
The collapse of the Labour party means the Tories could be in power until "2030 or beyond" she says, which has implications for Scotland.
"How open, welcoming, diverse and fair will we be in future", she asks.
"It is not just a relationship with Europe that is at stake, what is at stake is the kind of country we will become", Ms Sturgeon says.
She warns that the Scottish Government must not do nothing and hope for the best.
No movement from Number 10 on 'meaningful vote'
Theresa May has warned Tory rebels that a Parliamentary vote on Brexit in the event that there is no deal with the EU would tie her hands during negotiations.
The Prime Minister's Official Spokesman said: "We want Parliament to be engaged throughout this process. The British public have voted to leave. We can't have anything that would tie the Prime Minister's hands."
Anticipation builds ahead of press conference
Our Scottish political editor Simon Johnson reports...
"Dozens of hacks crowded on steps of Bute House waiting to be let in. Those of us who covered Indy Ref 1 have a serious sense of deja vu."
Queue of hacks to get into Sturgeon statement at Bute House. And really, that's what it's all about... look at us... pay the SNP attention.— Iain Martin (@iainmartin1) March 13, 2017
Can Nicola Sturgeon trigger a second referendum by herself?
The short answer is no, she can't. The Scottish First Minister must get the approval of the Scottish Parliament and both the House of Lords and Commons before a vote could go ahead.
It is a lengthy and fraught process and there would be all sorts of hurdles along the way.
And here's a snippet:
In order to trigger a vote, Ms Sturgeon must first gain the approval of her own Parliament and then seek the permission of Westminster via a section 30 order.
The First Minister would then have to hope that both the House of Commons and the Lords approve her request before it can be finalised and agreed.
What have the leaders said before about a second Scottish referendum?
Anna Soubry: Give me your word, Prime Minister
Conservative MP Anna Soubry has called on Theresa May to give her word that MPs will be handed a vote on the final Brexit deal today.
The pro-EU MP said she would not rebel against the Government if the Prime Minister makes a commitment to Parliamentary sovereignty and added it would not have to be a formal part of the bill.
Speaking to Sky News Ms Soubry said she is "looking for the sort of commitment that weve already had" on EU citizen's rights.
She added: "It doesn't have to be a law, just give your word."
Graphic: How Scotland voted in 2014
Jeremy Corbyn criticised for leading protest rally while Parliament debates Article 50
The Labour leader has been criticised for his decision to lead a protest rally outside Parliament while MPs debate Article 50 inside.
Tim Farron, the Lib Dem leader, accused Mr Corbyn of playing "silly games" and called on him to stand in the Commons and argue for the Government to protect the rights of EU citizens rather than campaigning outside the gates.
Mr Farron said: "Jeremy Corbyn is doing the worst kind of virtue signalling possible.
"He is standing with a placard in his hand when actually he could work with me and, together, we could defeat the government on this issue. But he chooses not too.
"We have the votes in the Lords to defeat the government, but he is telling his peers not to do that. Yet he has the gumption to organise a protest on the issue.
"How can he go to this protest with a straight face. It's utterly risible. He looks like a hypocrite.
"I challenge Jeremy Corbyn - if you care about this issue - put a three line whip on your peers and do it now.
"Labour are an utter shambles and people see through their silly games."
The Momentum rally will take place outside Westminster at the same time as the debate and has been organised as a last-ditch effort to secure the rights of EU citizens living in the UK.
Commenting ahead of the event Mr Corbyn said: "Labour opposes the government’s refusal to guarantee the rights of the 3 million EU citizens, who have made Britain their home and contribute to our society and economy.
"Their future, and the future of British nationals living in the EU, should not be used as a bargaining chip, which is why Labour is seeking to amend the Article 50 legislation to secure their rights."
John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, will also take part in the event.
Analysis: What would a second independence referendum mean for Brexit?
Simon Johnson, our Scottish political editor, has analysed what a possible second referendum could mean for Brexit.
Nicola Sturgeon’s threat of a second independence referendum is unlikely to prevent Brexit from happening for the simple reason that Theresa May will not allow her to hold one while negotiations with the EU are underway.
But a demand for another vote would make the Prime Minister’s already fiendishly complicated task even more difficult.
According to some MEPs from other member states with whom I’ve spoken, the European Commission’s lead negotiators will use Ms Sturgeon’s demands as a stick with which to beat and undermine Mrs May.
Nicola Sturgeon tweets hint at speech content
The First Minister has posted two updates this morning, hinting at her speech later on this morning.
This morning, I'll make an important speech in Bute House ahead of the triggering of Article 50. Follow @ScotGovFM from 11.30am for updates.— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) March 13, 2017
Conservative MPs back down over Article 50 amendments
Former education secretary Nicky Morgan has indicated that potential Tory rebels would back down if the Government can give new assurances over a vote on the outcome of negotiations in the Commons today.
Mrs Morgan said having a vote on the endgame was "not about making sure that Brexit doesn't happen" and warned Theresa May she would face Tory disunity unless she gives in to the demands.
"I think if the Prime Minister wants a united party then this is a simple reassurance that can be given by ministers at the despatch box that will have the effect, as I say, of my and my colleagues supporting the Government in this," she told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.
She signalled she would back the Government on EU nationals.
Lord Darling said peers should back down if their amendments are overturned by MPs but backed Mrs Morgan's stance on a meaningful vote.
The Labour peer told Today: "The job of the Lords is to ask the Commons to think again.
"The Commons has got to be supreme.
"I was 27 years a member of the House of Commons, I feel very strongly about that, the Lords is there to revise but at the end of the day the House of Commons is a democratically elected body.
"I don't want Brexit, I think it's bad, I think we'll regret it, but that's the way it is."
Jeremy Corbyn blames 'mischievous mis-reporting' for row over his Scottish referendum comments
The Labour leader told BBC Radio 4 that "mischievous mis-reporting" was to blame for headlines claiming he said a second Scottish independence referendum would be "absolutely fine".
Asked about his remarks, which prompted furious Labour MPs to warn they have had enough of Jeremy Corbyn making mistakes, he said his full speech had been cut down in media reports.
At the conference in Glasgow Mr Corbyn said: "If a referendum is held then it is absolutely fine, it should be held. I don't think it's the job of Westminster or the Labour Party to prevent people holding referenda."
Commenting on his remarks Mr Corbyn told the Today programme: "No we're not in favour of a referendum ...there was a bit of mischievous mis-reporting going on there.
"I did an interview during an economic development conference in Scotland ... I was asked if in Westminster we would block a referendum, I said no, if the Scottish Parliament decided they want to have a referendum then it would be wrong for Westminster to block it."
He added: "To be clear, I do not think there should be a second referendum.
"I think that independence would be economically catastrophic for many people in Scotland, it would lead to a sort of turbo-charged austerity with the levels of income the government has in Scotland and because of the very low oil prices and the high dependency on oil tax income."
Asked about his own colleagues, who reacted with anger to his comments, Mr Corbyn said they had not seen his full remarks and a statement to clarify them after the speech.
He added: "Those who are seeking mischief better go and seek it elsewhere."
Do Scots want a second independence referendum?
A BMG poll for the Herald published this morning found that 41 per cent supported independence, 44 per cent opposed the idea, 13 per cent were unsure and two per cent would not say.
When ‘don’t knows’ were excluded, the results were 52 to 48 per cent against independence.
Asked if there should be another referendum before Brexit happens, 49 per cent said no, 39 per cent said yes and 13 per cent were unsure.
This means those who had a view were against another referendum by 56 per cent to 44 per cent.
It came as former Chancellor Lord Darling said there are many reasons why a second Scottish referendum vote would be a bad idea.
Speaking to the BBC's Radio 4 Today programme he said it is unlikely the UK will have struck a deal by 2018 - when Nicola Sturgeon has suggested a second vote could be called.
Lord Darling said: "To ask us to go to the polls when we don't know what the deal is is to ask us to vote for a pig in a poke".
He added: "The people of Scotland are not daft, that's why we voted the way we did in 2015", and warned that the appetite is not there to rerun the argument.
Lord Darling also warned that the SNP would take lessons from Donald Trump's successful campaign and fight a second vote "on a fact free basis" in a bid to win.
Nicola Sturgeon to demand special deal for Scotland
Nicola Sturgeon will today threaten to derail Brexit by setting out plans for a second independence referendum unless Theresa May offers Scotland a special deal.
The Scottish First Minister could name the date she intends to hold a new referendum as early as this week, The Daily Telegraph understands, if Mrs May does not bow to her will.
Ms Sturgeon has previously hinted that autumn 2018 would be a suitable time to call a referendum.
The ultimatum is expected to be delivered this morning with the intention of influencing a Commons vote tonight on MPs being given a "meaningful" say on the final deal offered to Britain by the EU. She also wants to pile pressure on Mrs May just 24 hours before the Prime Minister hopes to be in a position to formally trigger Article 50.
If the Article 50 Bill is passed tonight, it could receive royal assent as early as tomorrow, clearing the way for Mrs May to begin the two-year Brexit process by informing the EU of Britain's decision to leave.
But Ms Sturgeon wants the Prime Minister to include in her letter to the EU a series of demands for Scotland to be given special treatment in the Brexit negotiations. Downing Street has refused to bow to any such demands and is highly unlikely to alter its plans unless facing a parliamentary rebellion over the issue. It comes as: