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Scotland to do 'whatever it takes' to stay in EU

Scotland's first minister says her administration will do whatever it takes to remain in the EU, including refusing consent for the legal process behind Britain's exit from the bloc. Scots voted to remain in the EU.

"What's going to happen with the UK is that there are going to be deeply damaging and painful consequences," Sturgeon said on Sunday. "I want to try and protect Scotland from that," she said.

Asked whether she would consider requesting the Scottish Parliament to block its consent for the move, she told the BBC: "Of course."

"If the Scottish parliament was judging this on the basis of what's right for Scotland, then the option of saying that we're not going to vote for something that is against Scotland's interest, of course that's going to be on the table," she added.

Sturgeon's new remarks backed up a pledge she made shortly after the results of Thursday's referendum on Britain's EU membership were announced.

She said it was "highly likely" that Scotland would seek a second referendum on independence from Britain because the results were at odds with the wishes of Scottish voters.

She later asked for direct talks with EU officials to discuss the move.

Divisions re-open

British voters decided 52 to 48 percent in favor of leaving the bloc,

while Scotland - a nation of five million people - voted to remain in the EU by 62 to 38 percent.

Sturgeon, who is head of the pro-independence Scottish National Party, warned that the consequences of dragging Scotland out of the European Union "against her will" would be "devastating."

Under the United Kingdom's complex arrangements to devolve some powers to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, legislation generated in London to formally leave the EU would have to gain consent from the three other parliaments.

Newspaper headline We're out

The result sent shockwaves around Britain and the world

A new poll for Scotland's Sunday Post newspaper found that 59 percent would vote for independence.

Uncertain future

Scotland's EU application could be blocked by other member states, like Spain, which wants to avoid a similar independence move by its Catalonia region.

But one analyst has suggested that Scotland could declare independence before Britain's departure from the EU is finalized.

It could then define itself as a "successor state" and effectively inherit Britain's EU membership, including the budget rebate, said Andrew Scott, a professor of European Union studies at the University of Edinburgh.

"I think the European Union would have no reason to reject Scotland's participation or continuing membership of the EU," Scott added.

The referendum result has left Britain's ruling Conservative Party and the

main opposition Labour Party in crisis.

It has

also left a question mark over the future of Northern Ireland.

Current favorites to replace David Cameron as prime minister are the former Mayor of London Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Teresa May.

Finance minister George Osborne was due to speak early Monday and try to reassure financial markets.

The pound fell sharply,

down 3 percent, in trading in Asia on Monday, adding to Friday's record one-day decline.

mm/jlw (AFP, Reuters)

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