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2 June 2015, 12:10
A vote to take the UK out of the European Union (EU) could result in a "clamour'' for another referendum on Scottish independence, according to the First Minister.
Nicola Sturgeon said that if Scotland was taken out of the EU against its will in the in/out referendum on membership it would create a "groundswell of anger''.
She used her first Brussels speech as First Minister to renew calls for a "double majority'' to ensure that all four UK nations back withdrawal from the EU before it can take place.
The SNP leader said: "I previously stated my view that if Scotland were to be taken out of Europe despite voting as a nation to have remained, it would provoke a strong backlash amongst many ordinary voters.
"Quite what the result of that would be no-one can perceive but I've stated before that this could be one scenario producing the kind of material change in circumstances that would precipitate popular demand for a second independence referendum.
"Bluntly, I believe that the groundswell of anger amongst many ordinary people in Scotland under these circumstances could produce a clamour for another independence referendum that may well be unstoppable.
"Of course it is open to the UK Government to stop that happening, to guard against that scenario by agreeing to the double majority provision.''
Prime Minister David Cameron embarked on a tour of European capitals last week in an effort to drum up support for the reform of Britain's relationship with the EU he hopes to secure before the referendum promised by the end of 2017.
In her address to the European Policy Centre, Ms Sturgeon reiterated her Government's "unequivocal'' support for the UK remaining in the EU and argued that "sensible proposals'' for reform could be achieved without the need for treaty change.
With a legal challenge against Scottish Government plans for a minimum price for alcohol currently making its way through the European courts, she called for member states to be given autonomy in key areas such as public health policy, and for the development of a single EU market in energy and digital services.
The Scottish Government also wants more localised discretion in implementing regulations to make EU policies "more proportionate and less burdensome'', pointing to changes made to the Common Fisheries Policy last year.