Nicola Sturgeon suggests Scotland could remain in the EU and keep the pound
Nicola Sturgeon today suggested Scotland could remain a member of the EU and keep its "current terms" of membership, including using the pound instead of the euro.
The First Minister has made clear since Thursday's referendum that she will do whatever it takes to make sure Scotland does not lose its EU membership, as Scots voted overwhelmingly to stay in the bloc.
Asked this morning whether staying in the EU would mean joining the euro, Ms Sturgeon said: "No, I don’t think that’s the case."
Although she has said a second independence referendum is "highly likely", she insisted independence was not her main priority.
"Independence is not my starting point in this, protecting Scotland’s interest is my starting point…that is a debate and a conversation and a decision that the people of Scotland have a right to take over the next period but in all of this it’s about protecting Scotland’s interest," she told the Andrew Marr Show.
She also made clear she would not "in any circumstances" support having a border between England and Scotland.
The SNP leader argued that the UK and Europe were now in "uncharted territory" in terms of how negotiations will proceed.
Although the SNP have not yet spoken to EU officials about the future, Ms Sturgeon said she would seek talks "in the days, weeks, months to come" to decide a way forward.
She dismissed a story in this morning's Mail on Sunday which said Brussels officials would not allow Scotland to simply retain its current membership.
"Look, there are a number of options that are potentially open here – I’m not going to be rushed into saying ‘this is the best option’ or ‘that’s the best option’. I don’t think it is the case to say anyone in Brussels has turned anything down. If you’re talking about a story in the Mail on Sunday today I don’t think it will surprise anybody in Scotland to see the Mail on Sunday pour cold water on our democratic aspirations, it’s what they do."
She argued that it was not necessarily the case that staying in the EU would mean Scotland having to join the euro.
"No, I don’t think that’s the case, but let me try and take this step by step, but this comes back to the point I made – we’re in very different circumstances to those that pertained in 2014.
"And one of the important differences is in a sense - and I know this might initially sound a bit off - but this would not be a decision about Scotland leaving anywhere, this would actually be a decision about Scotland staying and therefore the moral argument about us retaining the current terms we have would be even stronger than in 2014."
She was clear that she would never support having a border with England, even if Scotland were to remain an EU member while England withdraws from the organisation.
"Whatever happens with Scotland this issue of a border is going to have be resolved in the context of Ireland, of course, and some of these issues that would arise for Scotland…in these circumstances arise anyway in the Irish context and are going to have to be resolved," she said.
"So, these are issues that are live – I certainly don’t want to see in any circumstances a border between Scotland and England. Whatever happens here England is our nearest neighbour and will always, I hope, be our best friend."