March 13, 2017 - 6:06pm
Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed she will ask for permission to hold a second referendum on Scottish independence.
Ms Sturgeon said she wanted a vote to be held between the autumn of 2018 and the spring of the following year.
She said she would ask the Scottish Parliament next week for permission to request a Section 30 order from Westminster.
The move would allow a fresh legally-binding referendum to be held, if consent is granted.
Speaking at her official Bute House residence in Edinburgh, Ms Sturgeon said the people of Scotland must be offered a choice between a "hard Brexit" and becoming an independent country.
The Scottish government has published proposals which it says would allow Scotland to remain a member of the European single market even if the rest of the UK leaves, which Prime Minister Theresa May has said it will.
But Ms Sturgeon said the UK government had not "moved even an inch in pursuit of compromise and agreement" since the Brexit vote, which saw Scotland vote by 62% to 38% to remain the EU while the UK as a whole voted to leave.
The EU Withdrawal Bill is expected to complete its final stages in the UK Parliament later on Monday, which would allow Mrs May to then trigger Article 50 - which formally starts the Brexit process - as early as Tuesday.
Ms Sturgeon said Scotland stood at a "hugely important crossroads", and insisted she would continue to attempt to reach a compromise with the UK government.
But she added: "I will take the steps necessary now to make sure that Scotland will have a choice at the end of this process.
"A choice of whether to follow the UK to a hard Brexit, or to become an independent country able to secure a real partnership of equals with the rest of the UK and our own relationship with Europe."