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Scottish PM says a new vote to leave UK ‘highly likely’ post-Brexit

Andy Buchanan, AFP | Scotland's First Minister and Leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP), Nicola Sturgeon speaks at a campaign event in Glasgow on May 4, 2016.

More than half of Scots now back independence following Britain's decision to leave the European Union, a new poll showed on Sunday.


A Panelbase survey for the Sunday Times found 52 percent of respondents wanted to break with the rest of Britain, with 48 percent opposed.

Scotland rejected independence in a 2014 referendum, but First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said a second vote was now "highly likely" to prevent Scots being pulled out of the European Union against their will.

In Thursday's historic EU referendum, Britain voted by 52 percent to 48 percent to leave the bloc. But Scots voted by 62 percent to stay in.

After an emergency cabinet meeting on Saturday, Sturgeon told reporters said that "a second independence referendum is clearly an option that requires to be on the table and is very much on the table".

"To ensure that that option is a deliverable one within the required timetable, steps will be taken now to ensure that the necessary legislation is in place. Cabinet this morning formally agreed that work," she said.

In the independence vote two years ago, Scotland voted by 55 percent to 45 percent to stay within the UK.

The Panelbase survey, which interviewed 620 adults on Friday and Saturday, found that 52 percent think Scotland is likely to be independent within five to ten years.

This is up from 30 percent when the same question was asked in April.

Ruth Davidson, leader of the Conservative party in Scotland who opposes independence, said after the EU results came in on Friday that it was not the right time for another vote.

"I do not believe that a second independence referendum will help us achieve that stability nor that it is in the best interests of the people of Scotland," she said.

"The 1.6 million votes cast in this referendum in favour of remain, do not wipe away the two million votes that we cast less than two years ago.

"And we do not address the challenges of leaving the European Union by leaving our own union of nations, our biggest market and our closest friends."


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