LONDON, April 18 (Reuters) - An early general election will help determine the future direction of Scotland, first minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Tuesday, as she seized on Theresa May's announcement to build her case for a second independence referendum.
British Prime Minister May unexpectedly announced a June 8 election in a statement outside her Downing Street office on Tuesday.
"This election will be very much an election about what kind of country we want Scotland to be, and who determines the future direction of Scotland," Sturgeon told broadcasters.
Scotland voted in 2014 to stay part of the United Kingdom, but Sturgeon's party wants a new referendum within the next two years, arguing that the UK's vote to leave the European Union changes circumstances fundamentally.
May has resisted these calls, saying that now was not the time for a new Scottish independence referendum.
Sturgeon said that another vote on Scottish independence should be held when the time was right for Scotland, and it was not for May's Conservative government to determine Scotland's future. (Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by Kate Holton)