UK government must prove to Scotland the union still works - Sturgeon on Brexit

Nicola Sturgeon says all options remain open to Scotland

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Nicola Sturgeon speaking in Edinburgh | Image: YouTube/Scottish Government

The Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says the onus is on the UK government to prove the union still works for Scotland.

Speaking to reporters in in Edinburgh, she reiterated that Scotland must keep "all of our options open" in the context of a British EU exit.

"We didn't vote to leave in Scotland, we voted to remain - and to be told that we have to leave regardless would be tantamount to being told that our voice as a nation doesn't matter," she said.

"Of course some will say that we voted to stay in the UK so we must accept the UK-wide verdict - in 2014 we voted to stay part of a UK that was a member of the European Union."

"Indeed we were told back then that protecting our EU membership was actually one of the main reasons to vote against independence."

In a wide-ranging speech, Ms Sturgeon said rights currently in place for EU workers may not be there if Scotland leaves.

"I genuinely fear that a UK government outside the single market will seek economic competitiveness through deregulation and a race to the bottom."

"If that happens, that would be devastating for the workers rights and the protections that we in this country have come to take for granted."

"Different outcomes" for UK nations

"To end up in a position, which is highly possible, where we have to abide by all the rules of the single market and pay to be part of it or to have access to it, but have no say whatsoever in the rules that govern the single market - that would not be taking back control."

Summarising Scotland's options as she sees them, Ms Sturgeon said: "At this stage we must keep all of our options open."

"Options that would allow different parts of this multi-national UK to pursue different outcomes."

"That means the nations that voted to leave can start figuring out what Brexit actually does mean, while others - like Scotland - can focus on how to retain ties and keep open channels that we do not want to close."

Ms Sturgeon also called on Westminster to show to Edinburgh how the union is still working.

"Now is the time to do more than just assert, again some considerable evidence to the contrary, that the union works for Scotland."

"It's surely now time to find ways to demonstrate that Scotland's voice can be heard, that our wishes can be accommodated and our interests protected within the UK."

It seems to me the UK government now has a responsibility, indeed it has a vested interest to do so."