NICOLA Sturgeon has said she will do “everything that is within my power” to give Scotland a vote on its independence in 2023.

The First Minister was speaking to Scotland Tonight about the potential of holding a vote, with the full interview due to be broadcast later on Monday.

However, she stopped short of saying exactly when legislation could be brought to the Scottish Parliament.

She told the programme: “I intend to do everything that is within my power to enable that referendum to happen before the end of 2023.

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“And we will set out exactly what that means in terms of the date of introduction of legislation when we've taken the detailed decisions around that but more importantly, well it's not more importantly because obviously enabling the referendum was important, but actually what I think is much more exciting as we come out of the pandemic, and certainly the acute phase of the pandemic, are the opportunities that come with Scotland being independent.”

Sturgeon has previously pledged to hold indyref2 in 2023 as long as the pandemic allows it to be run safely.

Speaking to the SNP’s conference in November 2021, the party leader said: “I will initiate the process necessary to enable a referendum before the end of 2023.”

Some said that the language used by the First Minister implied a backpedalling on such previous assertions.

James Kelly, the ScotGoesPop blogger and member of Alba’s ruling committee, commented: “The clarity of language was becoming more encouraging, but this is a step backwards.

“‘Everything in my power’ could be code for just asking for a Section 30 yet again, and helplessly taking no as an answer (while muttering ‘this is totally unsustainable’).”

The “plan A” to indyref2 would involve asking the UK Government to grant a section 30 order, giving Holyrood the power to hold a referendum. This is the method Alex Salmond was able to use to hold a vote 2014.

However, constitutional arguments surround whether a section 30 order is even necessary for Holyrood to hold a consultory referendum. The SNP have previously indicated that they will take the UK Government to the Supreme Court over the matter.

Commenting on the First Minister's pledge, Scottish Tory chief whip Stephen Kerr wrote: “I look forward to the First Minister telling us in tomorrow's Covid briefing how Omicron needs to be our focus and priority…”

The full interview will be broadcast on STV’s Scotland Tonight at 10:40pm.