World Bulletin / News Desk
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said a second independence referendum is “highly likely” after the U.K. voted to leave the European Union.
Almost 52 percent of U.K. voters chose to leave the EU in Thursday’s referendum but Scotland voted by an even larger majority – 62 percent – to remain a member of the bloc.
Speaking in Edinburgh on Friday morning, Sturgeon said Scotland risked being taken out of the EU against its will:
“There is no doubt that yesterday’s result represents a significant and material change of the circumstances in which Scotland voted against independence in 2014. My job now is to act responsibly and in the interests of all of Scotland, and that is what I intend to do.”
She continued: “I think an independence referendum is now highly likely, but I also think it’s important that we take time to consider all steps and to have the discussions – not least to assess the response of the European Union to the vote that Scotland expressed yesterday.”
The Scottish National Party leader said she had spoken on the telephone to U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron to tell him her devolved government must be fully involved in London’s negotiations with the European Union in order to secure Scotland’s “continuing place in the EU”.
“I am proud of Scotland and how we voted yesterday. We proved that we are a modern, outward-looking, open and inclusive country. And we said clearly that we do not want to leave the European Union,” she said.
“I am determined that we will do what it takes to make sure that these aspirations are realized.”
-Irish border-poll call
Thursday’s referendum has also triggered disquiet in Northern Ireland, another U.K. region to vote in favor of EU membership but which now faces the prospect of leaving the bloc.
Irish republican leader Martin McGuinness said it was now a “democratic imperative” to hold a referendum on uniting Northern Ireland with the Republic of Ireland.
He told RTE radio: "The British government now has no democratic mandate to represent the views of the North in any future negotiations with the European Union and I do believe that there is a democratic imperative for a border poll to be held.
"We are now in uncharted waters; nobody really knows what is going to happen. The implications for all of us on the island of Ireland are absolutely massive. This could have very profound implications for our economy."