Nicola Sturgeon said it is still her intention to hold a referendum on independence before the end of next year.

The First Minister said there is no date for when the SNP will introduce a Bill at Holyrood for a referendum but that it would be decided soon.

Some in the independence movement have been frustrated at the lack of movement on a date for a second referendum and have been calling for plans to be speeded up.

The First Minister was asked why, having said several times since 2017 she believed there should be a referendum within a year, it has not happened yet?

Sturgeon said her focus for the last two years has been on the coronavirus pandemic but now that we are on a “downward slope” out of the omicron wave she said work was taking place to allow for a vote to be held next year.

She said: “I make no apology for the fact that over the last two years as First Minister I have prioritised steering the country through a pandemic.

"At the outset of the pandemic, I very clearly said we are putting plans for an independence referendum on hold, if only Boris Johnson had done likewise with plans around Brexit we wouldn’t be seeing some of the chaos associated with Brexit right now.

“But I am determined, I’ve won an election on this basis, to give people in Scotland the choice over our future and I believe when that choice comes people will choose an independent future." 

She added: “The key thing is that we will take these steps in a timescale that facilitate that referendum before the end of 2023, which is the commitment I made at the election and was elected on overwhelmingly at the election.”

On Saturday several hundred independence supporters marched through Glasgow calling for Boris Johnson to resign as Prime Minister of the UK over the lockdown party scandals and for Scotland to leave the UK.

Sturgeon was asked on the BBC’s Sunday Morning Show, why support for independence was not higher as a result of the scandal engulfing Boris Johnson.

Sturgeon said: “If you’d told me when I was a much younger politician that 50 percent support for independence would be seen as some kind of failure, I would have grabbed that with both hands.

“Support for independence, I believe, is rising. When Scotland comes to choose, we will choose independence not just because of the current occupant in Number 10 but what that is illustrating very powerfully is the fact that Scotland too often ends up with things imposed upon us like Brexit for example for being government by people and by parties that we don’t chose.”

The protest group All Under One Banner lead the “emergency march”.  

Plans for the event estimated around 5,000 people would take part, but AUOB later claimed around 1,000 supporters joined.

A statement by AUOB  read:“This is a great turnout considering the short notice, the early start time and mass gatherings are only just permitted. The fight for independence is on!”