It is “democratically unacceptable” that Scotland will be taken out of the EU against its will, Nicola Sturgeon has said, and a second independence referendum is “highly likely”.
The First Minister said that the Scottish Government would commence preparations for another independence vote after Scotland bucked the UK trend by voting 62 per cent to 38 per cent for Remain.
At a news conference in Edinburgh, Ms Sturgeon said that the SNP’s manifesto commitment to a second independent referendum in the event of a major change to the UK’s circumstances meant it was “a statement of the obvious” that a such a vote was now on the table.
Scotland rejected independence in a 2014 referendum by a margin of 55 to 45.
The SNP leader also called for Scotland to be fully involved in the renegotiation of Britain’s relationship with the EU, and said she had spoken to London mayor Sadiq Khan who will also be seeking a seat at the negotiating table.
London, like Scotland, voted firmly for Remain.
Ms Sturgeon said: “I have made it clear to the prime minister this morning that the Scottish government must be fully and directly involved in any and all decisions about the next steps that the UK government intends to take.
“We will also be seeking direct discussions with the EU institutions and its member states including the earliest possible meeting with the President of the European Commission.
“I also be communicated over the weekend with each EU member state to make clear that Scotland has voted to stay in the EU and I intend to discussion all options for doing so.
“I have also spoken this morning with [London] mayor Sadiq Khan and he is clear that he shares this objective for London, so there is clear common cause between us.”
Asked whether there was any alternative to a referendum, Ms Sturgeon said: "I think an independence referendum is now highly likely but I also think it is important that we take time to consider all steps and have the discussions, not least to assess the response of the European Union to the vote that Scotland expressed yesterday."
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