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There should be no second Scottish independence vote: PM May's spokesman

Jim Sillars right campaigning alongside Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond during the independence referendum campaign in 2014

He said: "I think Sturgeon's wasting her time and I can't see it happening - common sense should prevail".

She said that was "not ruling anything out" regarding autumn 2018 as a possible date.

"I think [that] would be the common sense time for Scotland to have that choice, if that is the road we choose to go down", Sturgeon told the BBC's political editor, Laura Kuenssberg.

Asked if she was not ruling out a referendum next year, Mrs Sturgeon added: 'I'm not ruling anything out'.

The result of the Brexit vote in June 2016 - with Scotland voting to remain while the United Kingdom opted to leave - prompted First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to warn another ballot in independence was "highly likely".

Only 17% of respondents thought an independent Scottish state should reject both.

Ministers are said to believe it is a case of when, not if, they are called to vote on the issue.

But Sturgeon stressed she had not yet made that decision.

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That increases the challenge for Sturgeon to persuade them to support retaining European Union membership while also finding enough non-nationalist voters to back independence instead of those SNP voters who abstain or vote no at a referendum.

Andrew Wilson, who chairs the SNP's growth commission, admitted that senior SNP figures including Mr Swinney and Nicola Sturgeon were incorrect when they claimed during the 2014 campaign that oil revenues were a windfall, pointing out they would have been needed to fund public spending.

The first minister told a BBC documentary on Brexit the best time for staging it would once the shape of the UK's deal to leave the European Union became clear.

It would also need to be authorised by the Westminster government.

While the SNP does not hold an overall majority at Holyrood, it could count on the support of the Scottish Greens if the Scottish Parliament voted on holding a new referendum. I suggested that Sturgeon's sense of urgency might be explained by opinion polls showing her "tanking" approval rating.

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.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said Sturgeon's comments proved the SNP was "hellbent on taking Scotland back to another divisive independence referendum and will use any excuse to do so".

Overall, Britain voted by a margin of 52 to 48 percent previous year to quit the 28-nation bloc " but voters in Scotland voted by 62 percent to 38 percent to stay in.