Nicola Sturgeon has said a second referendum on independence will take place on October 19, 2023.

The First Minister revealed yesterday the Scottish Government has published a Scottish Independence Referendum Bill.

The UK Government has said it will not support a referendum raising questions about the legality and legitimacy of any vote.

The First Minister however, said if it fails to get the approval of the UK Government, with a section 30 order, it would go to court.

And she said she has taken steps to instigate the legal process ahead of the date of the vote.

The First Minister said she has already asked the Lord Advocate to refer the matter to the UK Supreme Court.

Sturgeon said any referendum must be legal, otherwise it would not be internationally recognised.

She said: “Any referendum must be lawful, that for me is a matter of principle and practical reality. 

"It would not be recognised and would not lead to Scotland being independent.”

She said if the court decides it is not competent for the Scottish Parliament to hold a referendum, she added: “If that is what the law establishes, it is better to have that sooner than later.

"It would mean any suggestion UK is a partnership of equals is false.”

She then added: “That would not be the end of the matter.”

She said the SNP would stand in the next Westminster election solely on the question of independence for Scotland.

She said the General Election would be a "de-facto referendum" in Scotland.

The question in the second referendum would be the same yes/no question as in the 2014 referendum, “Should Scotland be independent country?”

Sturgeon said: “I’m writing to the Prime Minister today to make clear I’m ready and willing to negotiate the terms of a section 30 order.

“What I’m not willing to do is allow Scottish democracy to be a poisoner of Boris Johnson or any Prime Minister.”

Opponents said the SNP was wrong to propose another referendum.

Scottish Conservatives leader Douglas Ross, said his party would not take part in the referendum and said the Scottish Government should instead be focussed on recovery.

He said: “Nicola Sturgeon is at it again. Her eye is off the ball once more.

“The real priorities of people across Scotland are on the back burner. Instead, the First Minister is putting her plans to divide Scotland front and centre.

“Nicola Sturgeon has shown again today that the SNP’s selfish obsession with another divisive referendum is always their top priority. 

"She will use government time and resources to further her plan to break up the country, just when we need to be pulling together and working as one."

Anas Sarwar, Scottish Labour leader said the First Minister was putting her "obsession" before the Covid recovery that is still affecting people in Scotland.

He said: “For households across the country it doesn’t feel like the crisis is over.

“The pandemic Nicola that said she wanted pull us through is gone, and the partisan Nicola Sturgeon, that wants to divide our country, is back – pursuing a referendum that two thirds of Scots don’t want now.

“Worse still, isn’t she using the thank you she was given, and the promise she made to lead us through the recovery, to instead pit Scot against Scot and focus on her priority, her obsession, her purpose."