Speaking moments after the Scottish Parliament voted in favour of another referendum, the first minister said she now has a mandate to begin talks with the UK Government.
“I very much welcome the parliament’s vote, the Scottish government now has a mandate from Parliament to seek discussion with the UK Government,” Ms Sturgeon told the BBC.
“We will now seek sensible and constructive discussion. We will do that after the triggering of Article 50, I recognise that tomorrow is a big and important day for the Prime Minister.
“I hope the United Kingdom Government will respect the view of parliament. This is simply about giving people in Scotland a choice.
Nicola Sturgeon hinted she wanted talks within weeks
“We agree now is not the right time for that choice but that choice should be available to people in Scotland when the terms of Brexit are clear. So I look forward to discussions in the weeks ahead.”
However, Theresa May has already ruled out talks ahead of Brexit, reiterated to Ms Sturgeon “now is not the time” for a divisive vote on Scotland’s future within the UK.
Speaking minutes after today's vote, a Westminster spokeswoman said: "The Prime Minister has been clear that now is not the time for an independence referendum, and we will not be entering into negotiations on the Scottish government's proposal.
"At this point, all our focus should be on our negotiations with the European Union, making sure we get the right deal for the whole of the UK.
The Scottish Government now has a mandate from Parliament to seek discussion
"It would be unfair to the people of Scotland to ask them to make a crucial decision without the necessary information about our future relationship with Europe, or what an independent Scotland would look like.
"We have been joined together as one country for more than 300 years. We've worked together, we've prospered together, we've fought wars together, and we have a bright future. At this crucial time we should be working together, not pulling apart."
Despite repeatedly being told to forget about independence as the UK prepares to exit the European Union, Ms Sturgeon is determined to go through with it, saying it is "now the will of Scotland's democratically-elected national parliament" and the vote "must now be respected".
She added: "The mandate for a referendum is beyond question, and it would be democratically indefensible – and utterly unsustainable – to attempt to stand in the way of it.
Nicola Sturgeon's most outrageous quotes Mon, March 13, 2017
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"We will now act on the mandate given to us by parliament by making a formal approach to the UK Government within the next few days, after Article 50 has been triggered. This is, first and foremost, about giving the people of Scotland a choice on this country's future."
Just hours before the vote was held, a former first minister slammed Nicola Sturgeon for dragging Scotland back into an another independence battle.
Speaking to the European Union Select Committee, Lord McConnell said: “My biggest worry about this is that they, both governments, ministers in both governments and maybe some civil servants as well, spend most of the rest of this year preparing arguments about this issue instead of preparing the necessary legislation, executive orders and all the other things that will be required in order to make Brexit work for Scotland in a practical sense.
“I am seriously concerned about this debate around the referendum, however predictable it might be is going to be huge distraction from the urgent business, because there is a time limit on this now, sorting out the legislation, the capacity, the arrangements that are going to be required for Scotland to be governed properly, regardless of the constitutional position following the final day of Brexit in two years time.”