Sturgeon Claims Independent Scotland Will Rejoin EU in Stages, Without Euro

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However, Ms Sturgeon insisted: "The SNP has only reached the milestone of 10 years in government because we have worked hard - each and every day - to repay the trust of the people of Scotland and deliver on their priorities".

An SNP victory in the General Election north of the border would provide a mandate for a role in Brexit negotiations, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

In an interview with the BBC, Nicola Sturgeon said that depending on the Brexit terms, Scotland may instead seek to join the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) before applying for full EU membership.

The Scottish Government put forward proposals at the end of previous year in an attempt to create a bespoke Brexit deal for Scotland - where the vote to remain was 62% - but Ms Sturgeon said they were "dismissed out of hand by the Prime Minister".

A UK MP from the ruling Conservative Party who told a schoolgirl supporter of Scottish independence to "f*** off back to Scotland" says he meant it as a joke.

The Scottish First Minister acknowledged that she faced challenges in growing the nation's economy and improving standards in schools, in the wake of declining literacy figures.

"The bottom line though is our single market membership should be protected".

And she also argued for the reform of the deeply unpopular Common Fisheries Policy, proposing to replace an "open to all" policy with the regionalization of fishing rights.

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The first minister demanded the power to hold another independence vote after Theresa May rejected her "compromise" proposals for a special deal to keep Scotland in the single market.

Speaking to SNP activists in South Queensferry, she said the country had "come a long way" since then.

Meanwhile, she said the Tories "who for years have mounted ideological attacks on policies as diverse as free prescriptions and council house building have now - albeit belatedly and with little credibility - decided that they are both a good thing".

Nicola Sturgeon has sought to redefine the mandate that she is seeking in this United Kingdom general election.

"The question for Scotland is do we send MPs to Westminster that are going to stand up for Scotland - and we face the prospect because of what is happening in England of a Tory government with a bigger majority".

"When we come to an independence referendum, if we come to an independence referendum, these issues will be subject to the greatest of scrutiny".

"The reality is the Nationalists have quietly shifted away from a policy of immediate European Union membership if Scotland leaves the UK".

"And strengthening Scotland's right to take our own decisions - to ensure that Scotland's future lies in Scotland's hands".

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