Scotland politics

EU referendum: Scots 'Yes' voters urged to back Remain

Nicola Sturgeon
Image caption Nicola Sturgeon said she wanted the UK to remain in the European Union

Nicola Sturgeon has said anyone basing their EU referendum vote on the best case for Scottish independence, should vote to keep Britain in Europe.

The first minister has said a second independence referendum could be triggered if the rest of the UK votes to leave the EU but Scotland does not.

But she argued that the UK was far better off staying in the European Union.

Scottish Brexit campaigners accused the SNP of being out of touch with voters.

Ahead of the referendum on Thursday, Ms Sturgeon told the BBC's Sunday Politics Scotland programme she remained committed to Scottish independence.

But in a message to independence supporters she said: "If you're basing your decision, and as I say I'm not, but if you are basing your decision on what you think is best for the case for Scottish independence, then do not vote to leave - vote to remain."

The first minister said Scottish government officials were looking at "all options" if voters in the UK back an EU exit.

She added: "I think it would be very important for example that if we're in this scenario, and I hope we're not in this scenario, but if we're in this scenario, then Scotland's voice should be heard very directly in any discussions about what happens."

Conservative MSP Graham Simpson, who wants Britain to leave the EU, said the SNP was not in tune with its supporters.

Mr Simpson told the programme: "It's simply not credible that every single SNP parliamentarian thinks the same way on this issue.

"If you're a nationalist, which clearly I'm not, it seems to me its the natural thing to want to leave the European Union, and many nationalist voters do."

Image caption Graham Simpson said the SNP was out of tune with its voters