Scotland’s First Minister and Prime Minister Theresa May
MSPs are expected to back Nicola Sturgeon’s call for a second independence referendum in a vote at Holyrood this afternoon.
Green Party MSPs will join forces with the SNP to back the First minister’s motion.
The vote when it occurs will trigger an official demand from the First Minister to the Prime Minister for talks over a Section 30 order, the legal mechanism used to transfer the powers to Holyrood for a referendum, preferably between autumn 2018 and spring 2019.
But Theresa May has said that she will not allow another independence vote until Brexit has been negotiated and Scots can see how it has worked out.
Last week the Scottish Parliament suspended the debate on whether to back Nicola Sturgeon’s demand for a second independence referendum following the Westminster terror attack.
Theresa May only allowed Nicola Sturgeon to speak ‘briefly’ on vote
It was her big chance to tackle the Prime Minister over Scottish independence, but Nicola Sturgeon was only "briefly" allowed to mention a second referendum before she was shut down by Theresa May, it has been claimed.
The Prime Minister is understood to have dictated terms during their meeting in a Glasgow hotel, running down the clock by talking about Article 50 and a policing exercise before Ms Sturgeon tried to grab her chance at the end of their talk.
But sources made it clear that there was no "substantive" discussion of a referendum because Mrs May had already reiterated her position that "now is not the time".
Watch | Theresa May: My position won’t change on independence vote 00:56
She instead told the First Minister to forget all thoughts of a second Scottish referendum until voters have seen how Brexit is working "in the real world".
However Mrs Sturgeon insisted that her case for staging the vote within the next two years had been bolstered by Mrs May during their first face-to-face talks since she issued her referendum demand earlier this month.
The First Minister insisted there is no “rational” case for an independence referendum being delayed longer than two years because the Prime Minister told her both the UK’s Brexit and EU trade deals will be known by then.
Theresa May vows to build a ‘more united nation’
Speaking during a visit to Scotland, Mrs May vowed to build a "more united nation" as Britain leaves the European Union (EU).
She also pledged Brexit would not mean the UK "stepping back from the world", insisting she was aiming to build "a new partnership with Europe" while taking the opportunity to build "a more global Britain".
Addressing staff of the Department for International Development in East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire, Mrs May said: "We stand on the threshold of a significant moment for Britain as we begin the negotiations that will lead us towards a new partnership with Europe.
"I want to make it absolutely clear as we move through this process that this is not – in any sense – the moment that Britain steps back from the world.
On the likely date for a second referendum: "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 2014 Scottish Independence referendum was billed as a once in a generation event. The result was decisive and there is no appetite for another referendum. Labour believes it would be wrong to hold another so soon and Scottish Labour will oppose it in the Scottish parliament. If, however, the Scottish parliament votes for one, Labour will not block that democratic decision at Westminster."
"Most people in Scotland are sick to death of the SNP’s games. They don’t want another referendum any time soon, just three years after the last one. But let’s cut to the chase: the SNP’s plan was not actually about trying to hold a fair, legal and decisive referendum. It was about a well-rehearsed game to put forward unworkable proposals, wait for Westminster politicians to point that out, then rush to any nearby microphone – angry face attached – to trot out the same old tired complaints".