Nicola Sturgeon confirmed a second referendum on Scottish independence would be postponed as she announced a “reset” of the timetable.
The First Minister told MSPs of the change to SNP proposals on Tuesday, following this month’s general election.
Her party lost 21 seats in the election and she conceded her plans for a second referendum were “undoubtedly” a factor in the fall in support.
She had previously announced she wanted a referendum between autumn 2018 and March 2019, which would have required legislation well in advance of the poll.
Speaking to STV News after her statement in the chamber, the SNP leader said it was still possible that she will call for and hold a referendum before the end of this Holyrood term in 2021.
When asked if she could deliver a vote before then, she replied: “I will take decisions – I have a mandate for a referendum within this parliament.
“Brexit is going to come to a conclusion as far as we can tell in right now within this parliament. That choice, I think that common sense tells you, it is likely to be in this parliament.”
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson told the SNP leader the prospect of another independence vote should be ditched until after the Holyrood elections in 2021.
She said: “Today’s statement fails to give people any assurance that the First Minister has been listening.
“Instead, she appears to be in denial about her mistakes over this last year and, as a result, is leaking credibility and confidence in her leadership by the hour.”
Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said “the First Minister is digging her heels in, putting her fingers in her ears, and pressing on regardless” while the UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the recent general election “showed that the Scottish people do not want another unnecessary referendum”.
Green co-convener Patrick Harvie questioned how Scots can have a say on their country’s future the nation leaves the EU in March 2019.