**Brexit: Nicola Sturgeon says second Scottish independence vote ‘highly likely’
Scotland’s first minister has said a second independence referendum is “highly likely” after the UK voted to leave the EU.
Nicola Sturgeon said it was “democratically unacceptable” that Scotland faced the prospect of being taken out of the EU against its will.
She said the Scottish government would begin preparing legislation to enable another independence vote.
Scotland voted in favour of the UK staying in the EU by 62% to 38%.**
The UK as a whole has voted to leave, by a margin of 52% to 48%, prompting David Cameron to announce he would stand down as prime minister by October.
At a news conference in Edinburgh, Ms Sturgeon said the UK vote would lead to a “significant and material change” to the UK constitution.
The SNP manifesto for the Scottish Parliament election in May laid down that condition for a second independence vote.
The first minister said that option was now “on the table” and that many people who voted against independence in 2014 would be reassessing their decision.
Ms Sturgeon said there was a significant divergence between Scotland and the rest of Britain which she deeply regretted.
She said her priority was to reassure the people of Scotland about their immediate future and she would explore all options to secure Scotland’s place in the European Union.
The Scottish cabinet will meet on Saturday to discuss its next steps.
**Ms Sturgeon said: "After a campaign that has been characterised in the rest of the UK by fear and hate, my priority in the days, weeks and months ahead will be to act at all times in the best interests of Scotland and in a way that unites, not divides us.
"Let me be clear about this. Whatever happens as a result of this outcome, England, Wales and Northern Ireland will always be Scotland’s closest neighbours and our best friends - nothing will change that.
"But I want to leave no-one in any doubt about this. I am proud of Scotland and how we voted yesterday.
"We proved that we are a modern, outward looking and inclusive country and we said clearly that we do not want to leave the European Union
“I am determine to do what it takes to make sure these aspirations are realised.**”