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Theresa May Didn't Back Down Over IndyRef2 In A Meeting With Nicola Sturgeon

Sturgeon said she had been left "frustrated" after a meeting with May ahead of the triggering of Article 50 later this week.

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Russell Cheyne / PA Wire/PA Images

Nicola Sturgeon has been left "frustrated" over Theresa May's refusal to discuss the timing of a second referendum on Scottish independence after a meeting between the two leaders on Monday afternoon.

The prime minister and the first minister of Scotland met in a hotel in Glasgow on Monday afternoon after May had delivered a speech saying she believes the UK will become "more united" as a result of Brexit.

The meeting came one day before the Scottish parliament is due to back Sturgeon's proposal for another referendum on independence, and two days before May is due to trigger Article 50 and officially begin the Brexit process.

The first minister had hoped for clarity on when a second independence referendum could feasibly happen after the prime minister ruled out granting the Scottish government the power to hold one before the UK leaves the EU.

Following the meeting in Glasgow, Sturgeon told the BBC she was "frustrated by a process that appears not to be listening" but added the prime minister had made a significant concession over when the Brexit negotiation process will be over.

"I wished her well for the negotiations ... When she triggers Article 50" says @NicolaSturgeon on talks with PM May…

"I have said that I want people in Scotland to have an informed choice when the terms of Brexit are clear," said Sturgeon. "She has confirmed to me today that that will be in a period from autumn next year to the spring of 2019 – that would underline my view that is the right timescale."

The Scottish government argues that means the Brexit deal will be clear enough between autumn 2018 and spring 2019 for there to be a fair referendum, but May insists any vote must take place after the UK has left the EU.

Scottish government sources told BuzzFeed News that, when the timing of a second referendum was raised by Sturgeon, May told the first minister that her view on holding one had been made clear.

The sources also confirmed that Sturgeon will contact the UK government later this week, after the Scottish parliament backs the plans for another independence referendum, to formally discuss the timing of a future vote.

Sturgeon had also expected further details on what powers could be devolved to the Scottish parliament after Brexit, but she told STV News after the meeting that no such details were offered by May.

Sturgeon told STV: "I had been under the impression from the weekend media that she was going to offer Scotland something in the way of guarantees around new powers but there wasn't anything of that nature."

Earlier in the day, at a speech to civil servants in East Kilbride to the south of Glasgow, May described the triggering of Article 50 as a "great national moment" and urged Scots to get behind her and the UK government.

'Now is not the time to be talking about a second independence referendum'. Theresa May speaks about #indyref2 on a…

"As we face this great national moment together, I hope you will continue to play your part in the great national effort we need to build the stronger Britain, the fairer Britain, the more outward-looking Britain and the more united Britain that I am determined we should be once we emerge from this period of national change," said the prime minister.

Downing Street refused to respond to a request for comment on the meeting, however, earlier in the day, May told broadcast journalists that she stood by her comments from earlier in the month on another referendum.

The prime minister said: "My position isn't going to change, which is that now is not the time to be talking about a second independence referendum."

Following the meeting, Scottish Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser said: “Nicola Sturgeon has once again failed to act today as a first minister for all of Scotland.

“We are just about to enter the most important international negotiations this country has taken part in for decades, and all the first minister can think about is raising a timetable for a referendum that most people in Scotland don't want."

Fraser added: “Nicola Sturgeon has made it clear she no longer wants to govern for everyone in Scotland, she just wants to use meetings with the prime minister to further her campaign for separation.”

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

Contact Jamie Ross at

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