Nicola Sturgeon announces plans for second Scottish independence referendum after UK votes for Brexit

The Scottish first minister said there had been a 'significant' change change to the circumstances of the 2014 vote

Nicola Sturgeon has said prospect of Scotland being removed from the European Union is “democratically unacceptable” and announced a possible new independence referendum.

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“The prospect of a second referendum must be on the table, and it is on the table,” the First Minister said. “We will begin to prepare the legislation required for a new referendum to take place if, and when, Parliament requires.”

She told EU citizens in Scotland that it is “their home” and their presence is valued after expressing her regret at the result of Thursday’s vote.

Despite the UK-wide vote finishing a 52 per cent majority for a Brexit, all 32 of Scotland’s local authorities voted for Remain, with 62 per cent of Scottish voters backing Britain staying part of the EU.

“The UK-wide vote to leave the EU is one I deeply regret…the vote across England and Wales was a rejection of the EU and it was a sign of divergence between Scotland and the rest of the UK in the way it views the world,” the First Minister said.

“Scotland faces the prospect of being taken the EU against our will and I find that democratically unacceptable…for many people the supposed guarantee of remaining in the EU was a driver for their vote to remain in the UK.”

She said that the Scottish National Party’s election manifesto allowed for a second referendum in the event of a “significant and material change” to the circumstances of the 2014 vote – a threshold that has now been passed.

The Scottish cabinet was due to address this afternoon, with Ms Sturgeon saying she would personally contact EU institutions to discuss Scotland’s position, as well as speaking to European heads of state to express her support.

She said she would “explore all options” to reflect Scotland’s vote.

The Conservative MP made no mention of widespread speculation putting him as the prime candidate to replace David Cameron following his resignation.

The Prime Minister had an audience with the Queen on Friday morning after making his announcement in Downing Street.

He will remain in his post for an unspecified period to provide “stability” but expressed the desire for a new Tory leader to be decided by the end of the party’s conference in October.

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