LONDON — Nicola Sturgeon today abandoned her hopes of a second independence referendum in order to keep Scotland within the EU, saying that she now accepted the “reality” of Brexit.
The Scottish First Minister had previously raised the prospect of holding a second vote to prevent Scotland’s exit from Europe.
“Scotland voted to stay in the EU, and I think we should try to honour that,” she told ITV in October.
However, she said today that while she would “never stop arguing for independence,” she now accepted the “reality” that “different parts of the UK voted differently.”
“England and Wales voted to leave. Northern Ireland voted to stay in and even in Scotland which voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU — a million people voted to leave,”
she told BBC Scotland.
“So what I’m trying to do is see with compromise and a focus on building consensus, there is a proposition that the maximum number of people can get behind.”
She said she was willing to take independence off the table for now in order to keep Scotland within the single market.
“I’m willing to put aside my preferred option of independence in the EU to see if we can explore a consensus and compromise option,” she said.
She added that her priority now was to “keep Scotland in the single market while protecting free trade across the rest of the UK.”
Sturgeon’s hopes of keeping Scotland within the single market were dealt a blow last month after Spain suggested they would veto any such arrangement.
“If the UK leaves the single market, the whole UK will leave the single market. There is only one negotiator, the UK government,” the Spanish Secretary of State for the European Union, Jorge Toledo, said.
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