FIRST Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said it is “wrong” to suggest a second referendum on Scottish independence will not be held next year.

Plans are “under way” although an exact date has not yet been set, Sturgeon told Scotland on Sunday.

It comes as the SNP leader tours Scotland ahead of May 5’s council elections.

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Former SNP communications boss Kevin Pringle wrote last month that a vote is “unlikely to take place by the end of next year, given the hurdles to be overcome and extensive preparations required”.

The National:

The First Minister said others were “entitled to their opinions”, adding: “Kevin's a commentator, somebody I respect highly, but I think he's wrong on that.

"I've set out the timetable I'm working to. Nothing has changed around that.

"Plans for that are under way, so nothing has changed. I won the mandate for that in an election this time last year.”

Sturgeon also addressed a Scotsman poll showing a majority of Scots believing that discussions over when indyref2 should take place should stop amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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She said: "Look, in politics, of course you look at opinion polls, but I won an election on this timetable and plan, so that's the plan I'm working to.

"I accept, I've always accepted that to win a referendum, which is actually the important thing, I've got to persuade a majority of people that independence is the right thing for Scotland. That's what I am planning to do."

The First Minister set out that indyref2 legislation would be published "in due course", but that she hadn’t “decided on the specific date for that right now”.