Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Thursday said she plans to publish a draft bill on a second referendum on independence from the United Kingdom next week, promising to preserve a "progressive, outward-looking, internationalist Scotland."
"I am determined that Scotland will have the ability to reconsider the question of independence - and to do so before the UK leaves the EU - if that is necessary to protect our country's interests," Sturgeon told a conference of the Scottish National Party.
"So I can confirm today that the Independence Referendum Bill will be published for consultation next week," she said.
More than 60 per cent of Scottish voters opted to stay in the EU in the Brexit referendum, while 52 per cent across Britain voted to leave.
"The morning after the EU referendum, I said that I'd be guided at all times by a simple, clear test: What is best for the people of Scotland?" Sturgeon said in her keynote speech.
She said Scotland could be faced with a choice between "an inward-looking, insular, Brexit Britain, governed by a right-wing Tory (Conservative) party" and "a progressive, outward-looking, internationalist Scotland, able to chart our own course and build our own security and prosperity."
A majority of 55 per cent of Scottish voters rejected independence in a referendum in 2014.
During talks with Sturgeon in July, Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May appeared to rule out allowing a second referendum.