LONDON — One year after Scottish voters chose not to break away from Britain, Scotland's leader said Friday she could not rule out another independence referendum, and warned Prime Minister David Cameron he was "living on borrowed time" to convince Scots to stay.
In a speech in Edinburgh, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that her pro-independence Scottish Nationalist Party respected the electorate's 55- to-45 percent vote against separation.
She said "it would be wrong to propose another referendum without a fundamental change of circumstances."
But she said that if Britain decided to leave the European Union in a referendum due by 2017, "demand for a second independence referendum could well be unstoppable."
The SNP wants to remain inside the 28-nation EU, and polls suggest most Scottish voters do, too.
Sturgeon also accused Cameron's Conservative government of failing to deliver "on the vow it made on more powers for our parliament."
In the weeks before the Sept. 18, 2014 referendum — as polls suggested a knife-edge result — Cameron promised more autonomy for Scotland's Edinburgh-based parliament. His government has introduced legislation to give Edinburgh more tax and spending powers, but Scottish nationalists say the moves are not enough.
Cameron said that "Scotland's majority spoke" in the referendum, and "now it is time to move on."
Sturgeon's SNP has thrived despite losing the referendum. In May it won 56 of Scotland's 59 seats in the London-based British Parliament.
Sturgeon said the Conservatives' public-spending cuts and plans to keep Britain's nuclear-armed submarines based in Scotland were pushing more Scots into the pro-independence camp.
She told Cameron that "what happens to support for independence in the months and years to come will depend as much on what you do as it will on what we do."
"And, right now, you are living on borrowed time."