Brexit: Nicola Sturgeon says second Scottish independence vote ‘highly likely’

Scotland’s first minister has said a second independence referendum is “highly likely” after the UK voted to leave the EU.

Nicola Sturgeon said it was “democratically unacceptable” that Scotland faced the prospect of being taken out of the EU against its will.

She said the Scottish government would begin preparing legislation to enable another independence vote.

Scotland voted in favour of the UK staying in the EU by 62% to 38%.

The UK as a whole has voted to leave, by a margin of 52% to 48%, prompting UK Prime Minister David Cameron to announce he would stand down by October.

The SNP manifesto for May’s Holyrood elections said the Scottish Parliament should have the right to hold another referendum if there was a “significant and material change” in the circumstances that prevailed at the time of the 2014 referendum, such as Scotland being taken out of the EU against its will.

At a news conference in Edinburgh, Ms Sturgeon said: “It is, therefore, a statement of the obvious that a second referendum must be on the table, and it is on the table,” she said.

The Scottish government’s resilience committee, which meets in times of emergency, is due to meet on Friday afternoon. Ms Sturgeon said the Scottish cabinet would meet on Saturday and she would make a statement to MSPs on Tuesday.

The first minister said there was now a significant divergence between Scotland and the rest of Britain which she “deeply regretted”.

A majority of voters in all 32 council areas in Scotland voted Remain.