Nicola Sturgeon plans to hold "immediate discussions" with the EU institutions and other member states, in a bid to "protect" Scotland after the UK voted to split from the EU in a 23 June referendum. The First Minister of Scotland, speaking outside her official residence of Bute House, Edinburgh, on 25 June, warned Westminster was in "political turmoil" in reaction to the Brexit result.
"A second Scottish independence referendum is clearly an opinion that requires to be on the table and it is very much on the table, and to ensure that option is a deliverable one, in the required timetable, steps will be taken now to ensure that the necessary legislation is in place. Cabinet, this morning, formally agreed to that work," the SNP leader said.
"However, most of our discussions this morning have centered on what we can do in there here and now, and in the negotiations ahead to protect Scotland's relationship with the European Union and our place in the single market.
"Cabinet agreed that we will seek to enter into immediate discussions with the EU institutions and with other EU member states to explore all possible options to protect Scotland's place in the EU."
Sturgeon also announced that she plans to create an advisory panel of legal, diplomatic and economic experts to help the Scottish Government. The move comes after the UK voted 52% to 48%, on a turnout of 71%, to back Brexit. However, a majority of the electorate in Scotland voted to stay a member of the 28-nation bloc.
Sturgeon had campaigned for a Remain vote ahead of the 23 June ballot, while warning that a Leave result could trigger a second Scottish independence referendum. The last vote on the issue was held in 2014, when Scots voted 55% to 47%, on an 84% turnout, to stay part of the UK.
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, who leads the main opposition party at Holyrood, was also a campaigner for a Remain vote at the referendum. But Davidson warned that a second referendum would not secure stability for Scotland.
"Like the First Minister I am disappointed with the result," she said in a 24 June statement. "Like the First Minister I want to see stability prioritised in the days ahead. Scotland will open for business next week in the same way as it closes today.
"But 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. The 1. 6 million votes cast in this referendum in favour of remain, do not wipe away the 2 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. I believe in Scotland's place within the United Kingdom today as much as ever."