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The Scottish Greens Leader Thinks The Decision On IndyRef2 Is "Imminent"

Patrick Harvie told BuzzFeed News the decision on whether another referendum is held could be decided in the coming weeks.

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The leader of the pro-independence Scottish Green party, whose support the SNP need to be able to call another referendum, believes a decision on whether there will be another independence vote is "imminent".

Patrick Harvie, the co-convener of the Scottish Greens, told BuzzFeed News that Theresa May's "intransigence and inflexibility" towards Scotland over Brexit is pushing the country towards another referendum.

The SNP leader, Nicola Sturgeon, leads a minority government and will rely on the support of the six Scottish Green MSPs to win a parliamentary majority calling for another independence referendum.

The first minister is expected to make moves towards calling another independence referendum at the SNP conference next weekend, which could be after the prime minister triggers Article 50 and begins the formal Brexit process.

The Scottish Green conference, where the party will focus largely on the upcoming local elections in Scotland this May, will take place in Glasgow on Saturday. Asked if he felt another referendum was coming, Harvie said: "Nothing is inevitable.

"Well, the only thing that’s inevitable is the local election and that’s what we’re focusing on right now, but everyone is clearly feeling a decision is going to be imminent on that [an independence referendum].

"The Liberal Democrats are still saying what Scottish Labour used to say, which is 'Scotland wants to stay in the EU and the UK and that’s what we want to achieve' – but that doesn’t look possible.

"I regret very much that people who voted for both of those outcomes will not be able to keep those outcomes, but it’s the UK government’s intransigence and inflexibility that means that option is being closed down."

Andrew Milligan / PA Archive/PA Images

Scottish Green party co-convener Patrick Harvie, Scottish Labour party leader Kezia Dugdale, BBC presenter Sarah Smith, first minister Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, and Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie

In December, Sturgeon presented May with a document outlining how Scotland could remain both inside the European single market and the UK, but the prime minister has hinted no such deal will be struck.

The first minister has made clear that if Scotland is unable to retain membership of the EU or the European single market, an independence referendum will be held to ensure Scots – who voted to Remain in the EU – have another choice.

Harvie said there have been "informal" discussions between the Greens and the SNP about the possibility of another independence referendum, but that it was too early to talk about what the campaign might look like this time.

"There’s conversations that go on informally between the parties all the time – they even happen cross the Yes/No divide," said Harvie. "Taking that to the next level is not for now – we’ll wait to see what happens when Article 50 is triggered.

"We don’t even know if that will contain detail or a one-line 'we’re out' message. Everyone will respond to that when it happens, and that could be very soon – it could be in a few weeks time, we’re not sure of the timing.

"Right now the most important thing, our priority, is taking the message out about how Green politics can make communities a better place."

However, the Scottish Greens co-convener did confirm that he and his Scottish party colleagues have been taking Scotland's case to Europe via their European Green party colleagues – particularly in Germany.

Harvie said his party has been in discussions with officials from Ireland and Northern Ireland about the risk of a hard border between the two countries after Brexit, adding that it could have implications for Scotland's border "in the future".

On Thursday, Sturgeon told the BBC that autumn 2018 would be a "common sense" time for another independence referendum, but Harvie was less specific, taking inspiration from a satirical article published this week.

"I liked the Daily Mash take on it," said Harvie. "If it’s going to happen, let’s make sure it’s after Theresa May has screwed things up but before she’s forced out."

Jamie Ross is a Scotland reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Edinburgh.

Contact Jamie Ross at jamie.ross@buzzfeed.com.

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