Edinburgh: A second Scottish independence referendum is "highly likely" and should take place before Britain leaves the European Union, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Friday.
Scotland voted to stay in the EU by 62 to 38 percent in a referendum on Thursday, putting it at odds with the United Kingdom as a whole, which voted 52-48 in favor of leaving.
"It is a statement of the obvious that the option of a second independence referendum must be on the table and is on the table," Sturgeon told a news conference.
"As things stand, Scotland faces the prospect of being taken out of the EU against her will. I regard that as democratically unacceptable," she added.
"I think an independence referendum is now highly likely."
Scots rejected independence from the rest of the United Kingdom by 55 to 45 percent in a 2014 referendum, but since then Sturgeon's pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP) has surged, winning several elections.
EU membership was one of the key issues in 2014, with those campaigning for Scotland to stick with the United Kingdom arguing that an independent Scotland would not be able to remain a member of the bloc.
Sturgeon said many Scots who had voted against independence for that reason were now re-assessing their decision.