Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Monday that she intends to call a referendum at some point between Autumn 2018 and Spring 2019.
While further comment must await developments in the intervening fortnight ~ till the end of March ~ the government can not but be unnerved by Ms Sturgeon flagging the demand for a second vote of Scottish independence. after voters in Scotland had opposed Brexit on June 23 past year.
But Sturgeon has argued that the outcome of the Brexit referendum, where the U.K.as a whole voted to leave the European Union but Scotland voted to Remain, marked such a significance change in Scotland's circumstances that another referendum was justified.
The Scottish first minister hit back, branding Mrs May "undemocratic", amid fury from other nationalists.
The Labour Party in Scotland said it would vote against a second independence referendum.
"The Scottish Government has a cast-iron democratic mandate to offer people a choice and that mandate must be fulfilled".
Asked whether Mrs May was ruling an independence referendum out altogether, or only during the period leading up to Brexit, her official spokesman said: "The Prime Minister was responding to a specific proposal from the First Minister".
Mundell said there would be no negotiations on Section 30, a procedure that allows the Scottish parliament to legislate for an independence referendum.More news: Economic impact of Texas "Bathroom Bill" in El Paso
"To be talking about an independence referendum will make it more hard for us to be able to get the right deal for Scotland, and the right deal for the UK". May has not ruled out a later independence vote - but her stance could boost support for independence because it smacks of London meddling in Scottish affairs. "That's my focus, and I think it should be the focus of us all".
Sturgeon announced earlier this week that she will seek a referendum on Scottish independence to be held between the fall of 2018 and the spring of 2019, so Scottish voters can decide whether to leave the European Union with the rest of the United Kingdom or go it alone.
On Thursday, Ms May's Scottish secretary said the government would refuse to enter into any discussions about such an order.
"We should be working together, not pulling apart", she added.
The SNP put this referendum in the manifesto for the election that took place past year in Scotland and that will be tested in the Scottish Parliament. "To look at the issue at this time would be unfair, because people wouldn't have the necessary information to make such a crucial decision", she said.
There were signs too of further movement on timing from Sturgeon's government.
Sixty two per cent of those who voted in Scotland voted to remain and not a single local authority area in the country voted to leave.