A second independence referendum could take place if polling consistently shows 60% of Scots support having one, a UK Government minister has said.
Alister Jack’s statement is the first time a minister has defined conditions for allowing another vote on Scottish independence to take place.
Speaking to Politico, the Scottish Secretary said support for having a referendum – rather than independence itself – would have to be at 60% for a “reasonably long period”.
His comments come after Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said the UK Government would not stand in the way of a second referendum if it was the “settled will” of the Scottish people.
Asked what would constitute the “settled will”, Jack said: “If you consistently saw 60% of the population wanting a referendum – not wanting independence but wanting a referendum – and that was sustained over a reasonably long period, then I would acknowledge that there was a desire for a referendum.
“Anyone can see that.
“But that’s not where we are and it’s not how I perceive things to be.
“I think I’m broadly where the public are, which is that now is not the time to be having a referendum.
“We’ve had one, we’ve made our decision, let’s get on and rebuild the economy and rebuild people’s lives.”
The most recent published opinion poll on whether there should be a referendum was conducted by Redfield & Wilton Strategies on August 4 and 5.
It found 42% support holding a referendum more than a year away but within five years, while 40% said they oppose having one in this timescale.
Voting intention gave the No side a lead of 3%.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she wants to have an independence referendum within the next five years, preferably by the end of 2023.