NICOLA Sturgeon is to use the day Scotland is taken out the EU against its will as the backdrop for her ‘next steps’ on a second independence referendum.

The First Minister will explain in a speech on Friday how she intends to secure Indyref2 despite Boris Johnson’s flat refusal to give Holyrood the powers to hold it.

Senior SNP figures will also attend events and vigils “to mark Scotland’s unwanted exit” from the European Union in the first phase of Brexit at 11pm that night.

In a change of protocol, the European flag will fly from the Scottish Government offices at St Andrews House in Edinburgh on Friday and over the weekend.

The Scottish Tories called it a “cynical and obvious display of political opportunism”. 

The SNP leader also faced calls from the Yes movement to be more “radical”, using her MPs to disrupt business at Westminster alongside “peaceful civil disobedience and protest”.

In the build-up to Ms Sturgeon’s speech, MSPs will be asked to vote on Wednesday to “reassert the principle that it is the right of the people of Scotland to determine their future”.

The Scottish Government’s motion should pass easily with SNP and Green votes alone, however some rebel Labour MSPs may also consider supporting it.

The following day, SNP Brexit Secretary Michael Russell will update MSPs on whether Scotland will be involved in EU-UK trade negotiations in the coming months.

The Scottish Government will also relaunch last year’s ‘Hey Europe’ campaign to encourage EU citizens to continue to visit, work and live in Scotland after Brexit.

Ms Sturgeon has said she wants Indyref2 in the second half of 2020, but has yet to say how she can overcome UK Government opposition.

READ MORE:  Nicola Sturgeon to set out strategy to garner support from EU27 states for indyref2 campaign 

Earlier this month the Prime Minister refused to grant Holyrood the power to ensure a legally-watertight referendum, a process known as a Section 30 order.

He said to grant the power would mean more “stagnation” for Scotland and said the SNP should be bound by the ‘once in a generation’ mantra it used in 2014.

Last week, he went further and said a generation should be at least 15 years, and that there might never be a second independence referendum.

The Prime Minister’s position has led to several senior SNP figures urging Ms Sturgeon to hold a ‘consultative referendum’ without the UK Government approval.

SNP MP Mhairi Black said at the weekend that “there could be mileage” in a consultative referendum.

Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil and Chris McEleny, the SNP group leader on Inverclyde council, have also called for a ‘Plan B’ using an election result to trigger independence.

Ms Sturgeon said: “Friday will be a sad day for Scotland as we are taken out of the European Union against our will.

“While the impacts on business and citizens may not be immediate, there is no doubt that from 11pm on Friday 31st January there will have been a material change in Scotland’s circumstances against the wishes of the vast majority of people in Scotland.

“It will also be clear that a future in Europe can only be achieved by Scotland becoming an independent country – and it is hope of a better future that must now be our focus.

 “This week I will ask Parliament to endorse the mandate the people have given us to put the question of Scotland’s future back to them in a new public vote.

“On Friday, I will then set out the next steps as we continue the campaign to secure Scotland’s future as an independent nation.”  

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon fails to back Mhairi Black on wildcat Indyref2 

The motion before MSPs on Wednesday asks them to “recognise the sovereign right of the Scottish people to determine the form of Government best suited to their needs”.

It also asks them to agree “there has been a material change in circumstances since 2014 and that a referendum should be held so that the people of Scotland can decide if they wish to become an independent country”.

It also says the UK Government should “reach an agreement with the Scottish Government on such a referendum taking place on a date and in a manner determined by the Scottish Parliament, and which the Scottish Government proposes should take place in 2020”. 

Asked at an event in Edinburgh on Monday whether she agreed with Ms Black on a consultative vote, Ms Sturgeon twice refused to back her shadow Scottish Secretary.

She said: “I will set out my views on this. I’ve been very clear about the need for any process on independence to be legal and that is my position.” 

The law on a consultative referendum has never been tested, meaning any attempt to hold one would we liable to attract legal challenges and a unionist boycott.

Mr McEleny urged Ms Sturgeon to be “bolder” than she had been to date.

He said: “If the plan requires Boris Johnson to change his heart simply because we keep asking nicely then that plan is doomed to failure. 

“Some think that perhaps we need to return another pro-independence majority in 2021 [at Holyrood] and things will magically change, but that will just return a Parliament with the same make up it has now. 

“If the Prime Minister won’t accept the several mandates Scotland has for a referendum now, what difference will another mandate make if the UK government knows there are no political consequences to keep saying No? 

“It’s time to adopt a much more radical position that refuses to play Westminster’s game, because if we keep playing it Scotland will always lose. 

“We need to exert maximum leverage on the UK government… applying pressure in disrupting business in the UK Parliament, seeking the support of the millions of democrats across England that know Boris Johnson’s position is not a democratic position to maintain, and work with them in a campaign of peaceful civil disobedience and protest to ensure Boris Johnson doesn’t run roughshod over democracy. “ 

Scotland voted 62-38 to Remain in Europe in 2016, while the UK voted 52-48 to Leave.

Scottish Tory leader Jackson Carlaw, who opposed Brexit before Mr Johnson became PM, said: “This is yet another cynical and obvious display of political opportunism from the First Minister. Thanks to the SNP the NHS is now in special measures, standards in our schools are falling and roads are crumbling.

“But rather than deal with anything that matters to the people of Scotland, the SNP is obsessing about flags and Indyref2.

“Nicola Sturgeon said the 2014 referendum was a once in a generation vote and the people of Scotland voted no. The SNP must honour that vote.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie added: "It appears one statement on independence this week was just not enough so the SNP are now planning two.  

"You would think the SNP didn’t care about anything else.

“The SNP seem determined to repeat the mistakes of Brexit rather than learn from them.

“With so much going wrong with public services in Scotland the SNP should be focussing on fixing the NHS, schools and police.”

Pamela Nash, chief executive of Scotland in Union, said: “This motion is a waste of valuable parliamentary time which could instead be used to address the crisis in Scotland’s health boards, the chaos in our education system, or the SNP’s cuts to local public services.

“Instead, Nicola Sturgeon is engaged in a pointless exercise that may well have the support of SNP and Green MSPs, but goes against the wishes of the vast majority of people in Scotland. 

“Barely a quarter of people in Scotland want a divisive second independence referendum this year.

“The SNP should get on with the job it was elected to do. Scotland deserves better.”