British prime minister Theresa May has indicated she would block demands for Scotland to hold an independence referendum in 2018 or 2019.
“Now is not the time, she told ITV’s political editor Robert Peston.
Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon said this week she will ask the Scottish parliament for approval for such a vote, which would then need approval from the British parliament.
May said the Scottish delegates needed to understand her position before voting.
“I think it wouldn’t be fair to the people of Scotland because they’re being asked to make a crucial decision without all the necessary information – without knowing what the future partnership would be, or what the alternative of an independent Scotland would look like,” she said.
The interview came after Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II gave formal approval for Theresa May’s government to trigger exit talks with the European Union.
The Monarch’s ‘Royal Assent’ follows parliament’s final approval of legislation, late on Monday.
It means that May can invoke Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty at any time, although her spokesman has hinted that any such decision is likely to come towards the end of March rather than in the coming days.