THE First Minister has suggested she will set out her timetable for a new independence referendum in the New Year as she underlined the case for Scotland “being in charge of its own destiny” has become “immeasurably” stronger since the Brexit vote.

Nicola Sturgeon made the comments yesterday at her official Bute House residence in Edinburgh, where she unveiled a document by the Scottish Government that warned of the impact of the Prime Minster’s draft deal to leave the EU. She said the report had forecast that the deal could result in “loss equivalent to £1610 per person in Scotland compared to EU membership by 2030”.

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She said both Brexit and the way Scotland had been treated in the negotiations had strengthened the case for independence and compared how the EU “has shown independent Ireland nothing but solidarity” while the UK Government has shown “Scotland nothing but contempt”.

“Any idea of the UK as an equal partnership of nations has been a casualty of this Brexit process. Instead a Westminster government which Scotland did not vote for is intent on pursuing a path rejected by 62% of the Scottish people, a path which will hit the Scottish economy, lower living standards and cause damage to our NHS and restrict opportunities for this and future generations,” she said.

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“And along the way, to add insult to injury, Scotland’s voice has been ignored, our interests sidelined and the powers of our parliament downgraded. As a result of all of that the case for the people of Scotland having the right to determine our own future has never been stronger than now.”

Pressed by reporters she added: “The experience of the last two and a half years, the substance of the position that Scotland finds itself in because of Brexit, taken out of the EU against our will, out of the single market against our economic interests and potentially at this competitive disadvantage with Northern Ireland ... makes the case for independence ... stronger.”

She continued: “But also the process of the Brexit discussions, the Scottish Government’s attempt to compromise cast aside, Scotland’s interests, not even our distinctive interests ignore, a failure to acknowledge that Scotland has distinctive interests, the powers of our parliament constrained in the process. The case for Scotland being independent, being in charge of our own destiny, working with other countries in the context of institutions like the European Union has become immeasurably stronger over the last two years.”

The FM postponed plans for an independence vote after the General Election last year, saying she would give an update on the timing at the end of the withdrawal negotiations. Yesterday she was asked whether she was in now in a position to set out her thinking. She pointed to the turmoil at Westminster, where the deal has provoked a Cabinet rebellion, criticism from Tory backbenchers, as well as opposition parties. The crisis has raised the likely prospect of it being defeated in the Commons when it goes to a vote on 11 December. “If people are to be asked to consider that issue again then they deserve as much clarity as we can possibly give them. And we can’t look ahead right now even to the next two or three weeks and have clarity about what is likely to happen. Is it going to be another EU referendum, is it going to be another general election, is there a single market customs union compromise or though it seems highly unlikely is the Prime Minister going to prevail and get this deal passed by the House of Commons?”

She was asked if she would hold off until the New Year, and suggested May could try to come back to the Commons in the third week of December to get it passed if it failed on 11th. “I’m not sure anyone would welcome [it] if I asked you all to come here on Christmas Eve [for] a major statement on Scotland’s constitutional future,” she said. “I will make that statement at a time that I think is right not just for the Scottish Government or for the SNP but right for the people of Scotland. I think it is only fair that if we are asking people Scotland to consider the question of independence then we give them as much clarity as we possibly can.”