London, Jun 26: The Britain that Scotland voted to stay a part of in a 2014 referendum "does not exist any more", Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said today following Britain's vote to leave the European Union.
"The UK that Scotland voted to stay in in 2014 does not exist any more," Sturgeon told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show after saying a second independence referendum was now "highly likely".
"This is not going to be a re-run of the 2014 referendum. The context and the circumstances have changed dramatically," she said. Scots voted by 55 pe rcent to 45 per cent to stay in the United Kingdom in the 2014 vote.
But a Panelbase survey for the Sunday Times found 52 per cent of respondents now wanted to break with the rest of Britain, while 48 per cent were opposed. This comes after Thursday's historic EU referendum in which Britain as a whole voted by 52 per cent to 48 per cent to leave -- but 62 per cent of Scots voted to stay.
Within hours of that result, Sturgeon said that a new independence referendum to be held within two years was "highly likely" and said she wanted a role in Britain's upcoming negotiations with Brussels.
"What's going to happen with the UK is that there are going to be deeply damaging and painful consequences... I want to try and protect Scotland from that," Sturgeon, leader of the pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP), said today.
Asked what Scotland's negotiating position with Brussels could be and whether it would have to join as a new member state, Sturgeon said: "This would not be a decision about Scotland leaving... this would actually be a decision about Scotland staying."
"Our argument is that we don't want to leave. It's not that we want to leave and get back in," she said. She also cautioned any future British prime minister against vetoing a new Scottish independence vote. "I think people in Scotland would find that completely unacceptable," she said.