Nicola Sturgeon says second independence referendum should happen in 'late 2020'
A second referendum on Scottish independence should take place in the second half of 2020, Nicola Sturgeon has declared.
The SNP leader said she had no doubt that the people of Scotland would vote to leave the UK next time around.
Theresa May has repeatedly insisted that her government will not grant Holyrood the legal power to hold so-called "indyref2".
But speaking in Dublin, Ms Sturgeon indicated that she was prepared to test the resolve of whoever succeeds Mrs May in Downing Street by putting in another request.
She said: "There will be another Scottish independence referendum and I will make a prediction today that Scotland will vote for independence and we will become an independent country just like Ireland, and the strong relationship between our two countries now will become even stronger soon.
"I want to see Scotland having the choice of independence within this term of the Scottish Parliament, which ends in May 2021, so towards the latter half of next year would be when I think is the right time for that choice."
Ms Sturgeon also confirmed that the Scottish government will bring forward legislation setting out the rules for any new rerferendum this week.
She was speaking after the SNP had enjoyed a great night in the European elections, receiving nearly 38% of the vote and increasing its number of MEPs to three.
By contrast, Labour - who led the pro-Union Better Together campaign at the last independence referendum in 2014 - slumped to fifth place and no longer have any MEPs in Scotland.
Scottish Tory chief whip Maurice Golden said: "The SNP went into this election pretending to voters that it was nothing to do with independence.
"Yet within hours of it being announced, Nicola Sturgeon is specifically using it to argue for separation.
"That's fraudulent behaviour from an SNP government that's meant to be running the country, not trying to break it up."