Europe

Scottish leader to UK's May: Don't block independence vote

  • FILE - In this Monday, May 23, 2016 file photo, Scottish First Minster Nicola Sturgeon talks to journalists after meeting in London. Scotland's leader Nicola Sturgeon will seek authority to hold a new independence referendum in the next two years because Britain is dragging Scotland out of the European Union against its will, she said Monday March 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)

    FILE - In this Monday, May 23, 2016 file photo, Scottish First Minster Nicola Sturgeon talks to journalists after meeting in London. Scotland's leader Nicola Sturgeon will seek authority to hold a new independence referendum in the next two years because Britain is dragging Scotland out of the European Union against its will, she said Monday March 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, center, gestures as she sits with Lord Advocate James Wolffe, left, Permanent Secretary Leslie Evans and Deputy First Minister John Swinney, right, during a Scottish Government cabinet meeting in Bute House, Edinburgh, Scotland Tuesday March 14, 2017.  Sturgeon announced on Monday plans for a fresh referendum on Scottish independence before Britain finally leaves the EU. (Jane Barlow/PA via AP)

    Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, center, gestures as she sits with Lord Advocate James Wolffe, left, Permanent Secretary Leslie Evans and Deputy First Minister John Swinney, right, during a Scottish Government cabinet meeting in Bute House, Edinburgh, Scotland Tuesday March 14, 2017. Sturgeon announced on Monday plans for a fresh referendum on Scottish independence before Britain finally leaves the EU. (Jane Barlow/PA via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • British Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street on her way to the Houses of Parliament, in London, Tuesday, March 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

    British Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street on her way to the Houses of Parliament, in London, Tuesday, March 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)  (The Associated Press)

Scotland's leader is warning British Prime Minister Theresa May not to block a referendum on Scottish independence.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says she intends to ask voters in late 2018 or early 2019 whether they want to leave the United Kingdom.

Britain decided in a 2016 referendum to leave the European Union, but Scots voted strongly to remain.

The British government must agree to a legally binding referendum. May has condemned the referendum call, accusing Sturgeon of sowing uncertainty and division.

Sturgeon tweeted Tuesday that she was elected "on a clear manifesto commitment" to hold a referendum. She added: "The PM is not yet elected by anyone."

May took office through an internal Conservative Party process after predecessor David Cameron resigned. Critics accuse her of lacking a strong popular mandate.