Derek Mackay: The SNP are trying to help all of UK avoid ‘hard Brexit’

Finance and Constitution Secretary Derek Mackay.

Finance and Constitution Secretary Derek Mackay.

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The Scottish Government is trying to help the whole of the UK with its efforts to prevent a so-called hard Brexit, Holyrood’s Constitution Secretary has said.

Derek Mackay was speaking after the Tories accused the SNP government of using the UK vote to leave the European Union to push ahead with its plans for “independence at any cost”.

A draft Bill that could pave the way for a second independence referendum has been published for consultation by the Scottish Government.

Mr Mackay said that legislation “is about the mechanics of the referendum should we conclude that independence is the best or only way to protect Scotland’s interests”.

In the EU referendum, 62 per cent of Scots voters backed remaining in the bloc, but a majority across the UK opted to leave - prompting First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to warn that a second independence vote is “highly likely”.

However Ms Sturgeon has said she will consider all options.

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