Outgoing Prime Minister David Cameron today cautioned Scotland against triggering a second referendum on the regions independence from the UK after Britain voted to leave the European Union despite strong Scottish support for remaining a member of the bloc.
Scotlands First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been holding a flurry of meetings to weigh up her response to last weeks referendum, in which Scotland voted decisively to remain a member of the 28-nation EU, in stark contrast to the UK-wide results in favour of Brexit.
“The reasons for Scotland to be in the UK are as strong now as they were 18 months ago. The last thing Scotland needs now is another divisive referendum,” Camerons Downing Street spokesperson said.
However, Sturgeon has already indicated that circumstances had significantly changed since the first independence referendum held in 2014 and that a second independence referendum was back “on the table”.
Scotland voted by 62 per cent to Remain in the EU while Britain, as a whole, voted by 52 per cent to 48 per cent to leave Europe.
The First Minister will make a statement to the Scottish Parliament on the outcome of the EU referendum tomorrow, which will be followed by a debate on the implications of the result for Scotland.
The proposed motion for debate welcomes the “overwhelming vote of the people of Scotland to remain in the European Union”.
It mandates the Scottish government to have discussions with the UK government, other devolved administrations, the EU institutions and individual member states to try and secure Scotlands relationship with the EU and its place in the single market.
Sturgeon is meanwhile holding talks with Irish president Michael Higgins, who is on a three-day visit to Scotland, which will also see him address the Scottish Parliament.
Over the weekend, Sturgeon had also thrown up the possibility of trying to veto the Brexit vote in the Scottish Parliament.
During a BBC interview, she said: “The issue you are talking about is would there have to be a legislative consent motion or motions for the legislation that extricates the UK from the European Union?
“Looking at it from a logical perspective, I find it hard to believe that there wouldnt be that requirement – I suspect that the UK government will take a very different view on that and well have to see where that discussion ends up.”
Asked if she would direct the Scottish Parliament not to back such a motion of legislative consent, she replied “of course”.
“If the Scottish Parliament was judging this on the basis of whats right for Scotland then the option of saying look were not to vote for something thats against Scotlands interest, of course thats got to be on the table,” she said.
However, constitutional law experts are of the view that Scotland has no power to veto the UKs withdrawal from the EU.
Meanwhile, Sturgeon has confirmed that she and her colleagues would begin talking to Brussels officials this week about Scotland remaining in the EU.