Nicola Sturgeon's decision to call for a second Scottish independence referendum is "deeply regrettable" and will only create "huge uncertainty", Theresa May warned on Tuesday (13 March). The UK prime minister also accused the SNP leader of "tunnel vision" and playing games.
"This is at a time when the evidence is the Scottish people, the majority of the Scottish people, do not want a second independence referendum," May told the BBC.
"So instead of playing politics with the future of our country, the Scottish government should focus on delivering good government and public services for the people of Scotland. Politics is not a game."
The Conservative premier's response to Sturgeon came just hours after the First Minister of Scotland said she would seek a vote on a Scottish referendum at Holyrood next week.
"The UK government was clear in 2014 that an independence referendum should, in their words, be made in Scotland by the people of Scotland. That is a principle that should be respected today," she said.
"The detailed arrangements of a referendum, including its timing, must be for the Scottish Parliament to decide."
Sturgeon added: "If Scotland is to have a real choice, when the terms of Brexit are known but before it is too late to choose our own course, then that choice must be offered between the autumn of next year 2018 and the spring of 2019."
The SNP leader made the move just a day before May is expected invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and trigger Brexit talks, with the Article 50 bill facing another House of Commons vote on Monday.
Scots voted 55% against splitting from the rest of the UK in 2014. But 62% of Scottish voters backed a Remain vote at the EU referendum in June, when the UK voted 52% to 48% to split from the economic and political bloc.
An Ipsos MORI poll for STV News, of more than 1,000 respondents between 24 February and 6 March, found that Scottish people likely to vote were split 50/50 on the independence issue.