NICOLA Sturgeon has said she makes “no apologies” over her strategy to secure a second independence referendum as she insisted support for Yes is on the up.

The First Minister was quizzed about the Scottish Government’s approach to indyref2 as Boris Johnson’s government in engulfed in multiple scandals.

The SNP leader said earlier this month that she would do “everything that is within my power” to give Scotland a vote on its independence in 2023.

Speaking to Sophie Raworth on the BBC’s Sunday Morning show, she said the Government would decided “within weeks” when it would introduce legislation to pave the way for a fresh vote.

It was put to Sturgeon that support for a Yes vote should be higher than around 50%. An Ipsos MORI poll in December put the figure at 55%.

The First Minister, who chuckled in response, replied: “I'm just I'm laughing, not at the question, [but] reflecting the fact that if you told me when I was a much younger politician, that one day 50% support for independence would be seen as some kind of failure I would have grabbed that with both hands.

“Support for independence, I believe is rising. I think when Scotland comes to choose, we will choose independence, not just because of the current occupant in Number 10. But what that is illustrating very powerfully is the fact that Scotland too often ends up with things imposed upon us – Brexit, for example, or being governed by people and by parties that we don't choose.

“And all of that is the price of not being independent. Being independent is not some magic wand that takes away all challenges that we will face, but it puts our destiny, our fate, our future in our own hands … I believe that’s what people in Scotland will choose when they get the opportunity.”

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Earlier in the show, the SNP leader was pressed for an answer on when a second referendum was likely to take place.

“The preparatory work of that is under way right now,” she explained. “We haven't decided on the date that we would seek to introduce the bill. We will decide that in the coming weeks.

The FM continued: “My intention is to take the steps that will facilitate a referendum happening before the end of 2023. That's the proposition that just short of a year ago, I fought an election on and was re-elected as First Minister, my party was re-elected with a historically high share of the vote.

“This is about democracy. It's about allowing the people of Scotland to choose their own future. And for goodness sake, when we look at everything that has been happening over years now in Westminster – the chaos, the instability, the unpredictability – then, I think there are a number of people in Scotland who think actually, we can do much better as an independent country in charge of our own fate rather having people like Boris Johnson govern us.”

Sturgeon again stated that plans for a second referendum would be determined by the circumstances of the Covid crisis.

“I make no apologies for the fact that over the past two years as First Minister, I have prioritised steering the country through a pandemic,” she said. “At the outset of the pandemic, I very clearly said we were putting plans for an independence referendum on hold. If only Boris Johnson had done likewise, with plans around Brexit we wouldn't be seeing some of the chaos associated with Brexit right now.

“But I am determined. I've won an election on this basis to give people in Scotland the choice over their future and I believe when that choice comes people will choose an independent future. The preparatory work for that is under way and will determine at the precise date for introducing that legislation in due course.

“We are hopefully … on the downward slope of this wave of Omicron, which clears the way for us to do that. The key thing is that we will take these steps in a timescale that will facilitate that referendum before the end of 2023, which is the commitment I made at the election and was overwhelmingly elected on.”

The Scottish Tories condemned Sturgeon after she reaffirmed her commitment to a second referendum.

Murdo Fraser commented: "Nicola Sturgeon throws caution to the wind when it comes to her obsession with another divisive independence referendum.

"It's reckless to try and split up the country when there's an economic crisis facing working people and businesses. But as we know well by now, Nicola Sturgeon's first, last and only real priority is independence. 

"The SNP are out of touch with the Scottish public's priorities. Instead of trying to separate Scotland from the United Kingdom, they should be focusing on our economic recovery from Covid and protecting public services."