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  1. ITV Report

Sturgeon: Scotland must keep 'all options open' over future in Europe

Nicola Sturgeon said she was determined to seek a solution which preserves Scotland's key interests. Credit: PA

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has delivered a speech about the future of Scotland and Europe in the wake of the Brexit vote.

Speaking in Edinburgh, Ms Sturgeon outlined plans for negotiations to ensure the nation's relationship with and interests in the European Union are protected, after the overwhelming vote for Scotland to remain in the EU.

62%
voted for Scotland to remain the European Union

"I am determined that we find or create the options that best preserve the five key interests that depend on our relationship with the EU," she said.

The areas of interest, referred to by Ms Sturgeon, were as follows:

  • Democratic - Making sure "Scotland's voice is heard and our wishes respected".
  • Economic - Safeguarding free movement of labour, access to a single market and the funding for farmers and universities.
  • Social protection - Ensuring the continued protection of workers' and wider human rights.
  • Solidarity - The ability of independent nations to come together for the common good of citizens, to tackle crime and terrorism and deal with global challenges like climate change
  • Influence - Making sure that Scotland does not just have to abide by the rules of the single market but also have a say in shaping them.
  • Sturgeon: Scotland must consider the option of independence

Ms Sturgeon said "protecting Scotland's interests is my starting point, and I am determined to explore all options to do that."

"But I am equally clear about this - if we find that our interest can't be protected in a UK context, independence must be one of those options and Scotland must have the right to consider that option.

  • "I don't pretend that independence would be straightforward"

"I don't pretend that independence would be straightforward. It would bring its own challenges as well as many opportunities," Ms Sturgeon said.

"But consider this - the UK that we voted to stay part of in 2014, a UK within the EU, is fundamentally changing.

"The outlook for the UK is uncertainty, upheaval and unpredictability.

"In these circumstances it may well be that the option that offers us the greatest certainty, stability and the maximum control over our own destiny is independence."

  • Sturgeon attacks "lack of leadership" from UK government

Ms Sturgeon also criticised what she described as a "lack of leadership" from the UK Government and those leading the campaign to leave the EU the days following the referendum result in June.

The absence of any leadership and the lack of any advance planning both from the politicians who proposed the referendum and from those who campaigned a leave vote surely must count as one of the most shameful abdications of responsibility in modern political history.

– Nicola Sturgeon