EDINBURGH (Reuters) - Scotland could hold an independence referendum in autumn 2018, just months before the United Kingdom is due to leave the European Union, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said, the BBC reported.
The threat of a second Scottish independence vote further complicates Prime Minister Theresa May's negotiations with the other 27 members of the European Union over the United Kingdom's divorce terms.
Sturgeon said autumn 2018 would be a "common sense time" for Scotland to hold another independence referendum, once there is some outline of a deal to exit the European Union.
"Within that window, of when the outline of a UK deal becomes clear and the UK exiting the EU, I think would be common sense time for Scotland to have that choice, if that is the road we choose to go down," Sturgeon, who heads Edinburgh's pro-independence devolved government, told the BBC.
No decision has yet been taken on a date for a vote, she added. Under current constitutional conventions, a second independence vote would have to be approved by the United Kingdom's government in London.
The results of the June 23 Brexit referendum called the future of the United Kingdom into question because England and Wales voted to leave but Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to stay.
Sturgeon has repeatedly warned that the Brexit plans of the government in London could force Scots to call another vote on the grounds that circumstances had changed since 2014 when Scots voted 55-45 to stay in the United Kingdom.
(Reporting by Elisabeth O'Leary; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)