NICOLA Sturgeon has said Scotland “is on a journey which will end with independence” as opinion polls indicated increasing support for the ambition as the SNP gathered for its annual conference.

The First Minister argued Brexit was a clear illustration of the “democratic deficit” faced by voters north of the Border, 62% of whom opposed the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

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In an interview with the BBC, Sturgeon said she would give an update on her plans for a second independence referendum before the end of the year once talks between Brussels and London were over.

She said: “I will set out what I think the next steps are when we are at the end of this phase of negotiations.

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“Whether I like it or not – or whether anybody likes it or not – the future of EU/UK relationship is the context in which Scotland will decide that question of independence.”

She added: “I will set out my views on the next steps at that stage, if that’s when Theresa May comes back with the deal.

“It could be later this month, it could be November, it could be December.”

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Asked by presenter Andrew Marr, whether she believed Brexit made independence almost inevitable, she went on: “I think Scottish independence will happen so if you are asking me to use the term ‘inevitable’ I guess yes I would use that.

“I think we are on a journey that will end with independence. I think Brexit brings the issues around this very sharply into focus. That democratic deficit we have seen in the last two years, 62% of people in Scotland voted to remain in the EU and yet in under 200 days we are going to face exit from the EU. It’s hard to think of a better illustration of that democratic deficit than that.”

Her comments come as May hopes to reach a deal this month on the terms of the UK leaving the bloc and also an outline on the nature of the post-Brexit relationship with the EU.

However it is believed this could happen in November, or possibly even December. The UK is due to leave the EU on March 29 2019, but issues such as the Irish border and trade have stalled talks.

An agreement was hoped to be reached at the EU summit on October 17, but officials say it could be be agreed at a special summit in November or possibly even in December. MPs would then be given a “meaningful vote” on any deal.

If there is likely to be no deal, the EU Withdrawal Act requires the Prime Minister or Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab to make a statement in the Commons before January 21 to inform Parliament what course of action the government is going to take.

A poll published in the Herald on Sunday and The Sun on Sunday suggests a no-deal Brexit would see backing for Scottish independence reach 52%.

The Survation telephone survey of 1013 Scots also shows support would be a 50/50 split if the move goes “as planned”, while support for leaving the UK would be at 46% if there was another referendum tomorrow.

Meanwhile, a poll in The Sunday Times shows backing for independence would grow in the case of a no-deal Brexit – but would not find a majority. The Panelbase survey of 1024 voters in Scotland found support for leaving the UK would increase from 45% in September 2014 to 48%, while support for staying would fall from 55% to 52%.

In her interview on the Andrew Marr show, the First Minister was also asked about the SNP’s Growth Commission report, and whether it would mean extending austerity. She said the report rejected austerity and backed growing public expenditure.

On the Budget 8% deficit, Sturgeon said the current fiscal situation was a reflection of Scotland’s position within the UK and not as it would be as an independent nation.