THERE will definitely be no independence referendum this year as the Scottish Government tells the UK Government it has paused work on preparing for a vote.

Despite the UK Government refusing to grant permission for a second referendum the Scottish Government was pressing ahead with plans and hoped to put pressure on ministers to change their mind.

However, Michael Russell, constitution secretary, has said that work has been “paused”.

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He has written to the Electoral Commission to say that he does not expect it to carry out work on testing a referendum question until “public health conditions allow”.

He said: “It follows from this that a referendum will not take place this year.”

Mr Russell asked the UK Government to also pause the Brexit negotiations with the European union for six months, while efforts to cope with coronavirus are ongoing.

He said: “It would seem impossible for business and others to cope with he enormous challenge of coronavirus while at the same time preparing for a completely new relationship with the EU in nine months’ time.”