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Second Brexit vote does not set precedent for Scotland - First Minister

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon arrives to make a statement on BREXIT to MSP's in the debating chamber at the Scottish Parliament in the Edinburgh. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday June 28, 2016. See PA story POLITICS EU Scotland. Photo credit should read: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

By Hilary Duncanson, Press Association Scotland

A second referendum on Brexit would not set a precedent for the way Scotland would become independent, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

Scotland's First Minister has indicated her party's MPs would back a so-called People's Vote on the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union (EU), if they were given the option.

The SNP leader said that did not mean there would have to be a similar follow-up vote in the event of Scottish independence.

Ms Sturgeon said the "detailed proposition" put to the public in the 2014 independence referendum stood in stark contrast to the lack of detail available at the time of the 2016 Brexit vote.

On the issue of another vote on Brexit, the First Minister told BBC Radio Scotland: "If the vote presents itself in the House of Commons - I don't know yet that it will - my view is that SNP MPs should vote for that."

Asked whether that would then set a precedent for there to be a similar vote on any deal to leave the UK in the event of Scottish independence, Ms Sturgeon replied: "In my view, no, and I'll explain exactly why."

She told the Good Morning Scotland programme: "If you look back to 2014, there was a detailed proposition put to people in that referendum, the White Paper, which not everybody agreed with, obviously.

"But it was a detailed proposition, setting out the implications, setting out in advance some of the compromises that would be required - currency union, for example, continued regulatory harmony.

"So people knew what they were voting for. They knew the shape of the deal that the Scottish Government would then have negotiated if the vote had been for independence.

"The contrast between that and the 2016 Brexit vote could not be starker. There was the lie on the side of the bus and nothing more.

"There was no detail then, there is no detail now and it looks increasingly likely that when the UK leaves the EU at the end of March next year, there will still be no detail about the future relationship, and that makes these two situations, in my view, very different."

The SNP is currently having its annual conference in Glasgow.

Speaking on the first day of the gathering, senior SNP MP Joanna Cherry said Scotland would not necessarily have to have a second independence referendum to leave the UK.

Addressing a fringe event at the conference, Ms Cherry suggested the party's over-arching goal could be achieved through a "democratic event", such as a general election.

The pro-UK camapign group Scotland in Union branded the comments "dangerous and ill judged".

Asked whether she agreed with Ms Cherry's view, Ms Sturgeon told the radio show: "My view is, as it has always been, that the people of Scotland will decide the question of independence in a referendum. That's the party position, that remains the party position."

But she continued: "In defence of Joanna, I think it's a bit rich for the opposition to have a go at SNP members for speculating about how we might be able to express our views on independence in circumstances where, in a fundamentally anti-democratic fashion, we have got opposition parties suggesting that they would block the ability to choose in a referendum."

Prime Minister Theresa May's official spokesman said: "We have made our position on this repeatedly clear.

"Scotland already had an independence referendum just four years ago and voted decisively to remain in the UK. This should be respected.

"As the Prime Minister has said, now is not the time for a second independence referendum, now is the time for the United Kingdom to be pulling together to get the right deal for the United Kingdom and the right deal for Scotland in our (Brexit) negotiations."

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