Nicola Sturgeon has quietly dropped her demand for a second independence referendum by spring 2019 as she signalled a major retreat in the face of a fierce public backlash against her plans.
The First Minister announced she was now willing to delay another independence vote until the end of the “Brexit process”, which could take many years if a proposed transitional deal between the UK and EU is taken into account.
Launching the SNP manifesto in Perth, which is in a key Tory target seat, Ms Sturgeon said she would reconsider her original plan to allow Scots to make a “genuinely informed choice about the future of our country.”
The First Minister originally insisted the vote should take place between autumn 2018 and spring 2019 but the manifesto document made no mention of these dates.
Instead she attempted to give herself maximum flexibility by stating that it would be held “when the time is right and the options are clear”.
Her retreat followed a launch speech in which she barely mentioned independence and attempted to woo Labour supporters by promising to vigorously oppose austerity and the Tories.