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FM will 'protect Scotland's interests'

Sturgeon to seek new deal with Europe after Brexit

Sturgeon on MarrFirst Minister Nicola Sturgeon is expected to call for a new deal with Europe to allow Scotland to retain a formal link to the EU.

Ms Sturgeon held a meeting of the Shadow Cabinet yesterday to discuss the Scottish government’s response to Thursday’s vote and the option of a second referendum on independence is now firmly on the table. A poll this morning puts support for independence at 59%. It was carried out by ScotPulse following the EU result. Only 32% said No.

It has been suggested that Scotland will seek an arrangement similar to that enjoyed by Norway and Iceland which have agreed to certain conditions that allow them to be part of the single market.

She said in an interview today: “My challenge and responsibility as First minister is to protect Scotland’s interests. We are in uncharted territory.

“There are a number of options here. I am not going to say which is best. More than 60% of Scotland voted to stay in Europe…every local authority area.”

She spoke of the painful consequences of an EU exit and her desire “to protect Scotland from that.”

On the justification for a second referendum following the decision to reject independence in 2014 she insisted that the circumstances are “very different from 2014.”

She added: “I am not suggesting the path ahead is easy and without complexity. We will seek discussions with Europe and other member states.”

She said she did not want to see a Border between Scotland and England and that the two “remain best friends”.

She said she looked at the vacuum of leadership in Westminster with a sense of despair and said there was no vacuum in Scotland.

Businessman and SNP supporter Jim McColl has warned the Scottish government against holding a second independence referendum.

McColl, billionaire founder and chief executive of Clyde Blowers Capital, told The Sunday Times that last week’s Brexit vote presented Scottish and UK businesses with opportunities to broker trade deals with other countries outside the EU.

> Comment: Are we ‘out’ or ‘a little bit in’

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