Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said her government started work on legislation for a new referendum on independence after the U.K. as a whole decided to quit the European Union while Scotland voted to remain. Speaking after an emergency meeting of her cabinet in Edinburgh on Saturday, Sturgeon said she will also be seeking talks with European leaders and the institutions of the EU about ways of continuing Scotland’s relationship with the bloc. The semi-autonomous government will appoint a panel of advisers in coming weeks and convene a meeting of consuls from EU member states. “A second independence referendum is clearly an option that requires to be on the table, and it is very much on the table; to ensure that option is a deliverable one in the required timetable, steps will be taken now to ensure the necessary legislation is in place,” Sturgeon said in a televised statement outside her official Bute House residence. “We are determined to act decisively, but in a way that builds unity across Scotland about the way forward.”
The campaign to leave the world’s largest trading bloc scored a stunning victory in Thursday’s Brexit vote that shook financial markets across the globe and upended Britain’s political establishment. Immediately, questions were raised about the future integrity of the U.K. less than two years since Scots last voted on independence, deciding 55 percent to 45 percent to stay in the three-centuries-old union with England. The Sunday Post newspaper said a poll now showed majority support for independence.
The prospect of another vote dominated Scottish media on Saturday. The front page of the Daily Record, the top-selling newspaper, declared “EU, Go Girl’ and said Sturgeon had no choice but to call another vote. The Herald said on its front page that Scotland is on course for a referendum within two years.