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8 August 2016, 08:44
A UK cabinet secretary is pledging to put "Scottish voices and interests'' at the centre of Brexit negotiations.
David Mundell, Secretary of State for Scotland, is meeting key groups and sectors in the Scottish economy before the UK holds negotiations to leave the European Union (EU).
He also said he would be "working closely'' with the Scottish Government, which has not ruled out holding a second independence referendum in a bid to maintain the country's links with Europe after 62% of voters north of the border voted for Remain.
Mr Mundell has already held talks with business leaders north of the border following the shock vote in June's referendum.
The Conservative now plans a series of discussions, meeting members of the oil and gas sector, farmers, the creative industries, the legal sector and new business start-ups.
Talks will also take place with local authorities across Scotland, Scottish Chambers of Commerce, the armed forces and the Young Scot organisation.
The Scottish Secretary said: "I am looking forward to meeting groups from across Scotland to hear directly from them what their priorities are following the vote by the UK to leave the European Union.
"My task is to ensure that Scottish voices and interests are at the centre of the negotiations to come, and that is why this engagement is so important.
"We are determined to take a 'Team UK' approach to this process, working closely with the Scottish Government and other partners as we form our negotiating strategy, and we will look at any suggestions they put forward.
"At every step of the way, the UK Government will work to ensure the best possible outcome for the British people and for all parts of our United Kingdom.''
He added: "While the UK is leaving the EU, we will of course remain part of Europe.
"The United Kingdom will always be an outward-looking, globally-minded country, which is very much open for business.
"Our economic position is a strong one, with employment high and the deficit down by nearly two-thirds. That is a strong basis from which to move forward as we forge a new role for ourselves in the world. ''