Nocila Sturgeon should call a second referendum, says Scotland's Brexit boss
Mike Russell, Scotland's Brexit Minister, believes a hard Brexit will cause "substantial economic damage" north of the border and wants a separate post-EU solution for Scotland.
He told members of the House of Lords that he would continue to fight to keep his home nation in the economic union.
He said: "I think there are three sets of exceptions. But if there were no exceptions I would still be arguing for it, because I believe it is constitutionally and democratically the right thing to do in a country that voted to stay."
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Ms Sturgeon wants the Scots to stay in the single market and has floated the idea of joining European Free Trade Association (EFTA) to keep membership of the European Economic Area.
Mr Russell stated three reasons why Scotland should be treated differently from the rest of the UK with regard to Brexit.
Mike Russell, MSP and Brexit chief, wants Sturgeon to hold a second independence vote
He said: ""I start unashamedly with the democratic one. You may wish to argue this was a UK-wide vote, therefore what Scotland votes doesn't count, but Scotland voted as a distinct unit 62per cent to 38 per cent.
"There is no evidence that has changed in the slightest. Every part of Scotland voted in that manner. So there is a view that Scotland should remain in the EU.
"So there's a democratic issue. And there's a democratic mandate issue in what we're doing. I was elected on a manifesto promise that said if Scotland was taken out of the EU against its will that would be a material change of circumstances in terms of independence.
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Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in pictures.
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Nicola Sturgeon visits Glaxo Smith Kline.
"We think the 6 per cent to 38 per cent vote is a democratic mandate. Since then the Scottish Parliament has twice voted, very strongly, in favour of the option of remaining in the single market."
He believes Scotland will suffer if there is an end to the EU's free movement of people because "there is a dependency on it in very crucial areas of our economy and national life".
Lord Whitty, who was questioning Mr Russell, said: "Most of the evidence we have received is it may be legally possible, just about, and there are different opinions on that, but that it would be politically very difficult."
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