Today Nicola Sturgeon gave a statement on the outcome of the EU referendum. She set out what action the Scottish Government will now take to safeguard our future in Europe, following the unequivocal vote for Scotland to remain in the EU.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Scotland being taken out of the EU against our will is a significant and material change in the circumstances that prevailed in 2014.
During the 2014 referendum we were told that only a No vote would guarantee that Scotland would remain in the EU – this has proved not to be the case. We believe this is a democratically unacceptable situation.
2. We will take all possible steps and explore all options to secure Scotland’s continuing place in the EU and in the single market in particular.
We are clear that the Scottish Government must be fully involved in all decisions about the next steps the UK Government takes. The Scottish Government will also seek discussions with the EU institutions and its member states, including the earliest possible meeting with the President of the European Commission.
3. The Scottish Government will begin to prepare the required legislation to enable a new independence referendum – if and when Parliament so decides.
When the process for the UK to leave the EU begins in three months time, it is expected to take two years to leave. If the Scottish Parliament decides that a second referendum is the best or only way to protect our place in Europe, it must have the option to hold one within that timescale.
The need to act decisively will be tempered with the need to build consensus. While many people who voted No in 2014 are reassessing their decision, we will not simply assume their support – we will be straight and honest with them.
4. For citizens of other EU countries living here in Scotland – you remain welcome here, Scotland is your home and your contribution is valued.
The Remain vote in Scotland was won by a campaign that was positive about the EU and about the benefits of migration. Scotland has voted to renew its reputation as an outward looking, open and inclusive country.
5. Our business community can be reassured that as of now we remain firmly in the EU.
Trade and business should continue as normal – we are determined that Scotland will continue to be an attractive and stable place to do business.