Nicola Sturgeon has said that a second independence referendum will have to wait until the end of the Covid crisis.

The SNP leader would like to see a new breakaway poll in the first half of the next parliament, but believes that the country must first emerge from the pandmeic which has disrupted so much of normal life. 

Speaking to the BBC, Ms Sturgeon, who is seeking to be re-elected as First Minister in May, said that a second Indyref would should not take place until Scotland is out of the "acute phase" of the coronavirus epidemic. 

She said that would come when world leaders were no longer "having to stand up every day and report deaths and hospitalisations" and when the recovery phase had "clearly" begun. 

HeraldScotland:

She said: "We have to come out of this crisis. I can't - no more than anybody across the globe can right now - give you a fixed date for when Covid will be over. Whether people like it or not, getting us through Covid has to be my first priority.

"If we are out of the Covid crisis, then I would want to see an independence referendum in the first half of this parliament, because as we recover from Covid, it's really important we have the power and decision making here in Scotland to ensure we have the kind of recovery a majority want.

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"In terms of the specific timescale of that - that will be for parliament to judge. I'm telling you the timescale that I would like to see, but we are living in the midst of a global pandemic, and I would not be doing my job properly as First Minister if I somehow tried to ignore that and just cast that aside." 

HeraldScotland:

Ms Sturgeon also defended herself against accusations from some supporters of Scottish independence that her administration has been sluggish on seeking a new referendum. 

She said the important this was to establish "sustained" majority support for breaking away from the UK, and that was now occurring. 

Ms Sturgeon said: "Support for independence under my leadership of the SNP is at a higher level than it's ever been, and one of the prerequisites of winning and delivering independence is that you built sustained majority support.

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"We have never managed to do that before. We are now in a position were it could be argued that we are now doing that. 

"That is not an easy thing to have done and that has happened over the past couple of years. So to say there's no progress towards independence, I'm not sure that bears any real scrutiny."