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Scotland’s leader announces fresh drive for independence following Brexit vote

First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon.
Slaven Vlasic | Getty Images for Glasgow Caledonian University NY

Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon has called for another push towards leaving the United Kingdom after she called on Scotland to control its own future.

Scots voted in September 2014 to remain a part of the United Kingdom by a margin of 55 percent to 45 percent.

However a recent vote by the UK to leave the European Union has brought Scottish independence back on to the table as more than 62 percent of Scots voted in vain to stay a part of Europe.

Speaking Thursday, Sturgeon, who is Scotland's First Minister, said she was announcing a "political listening exercise" to see if independence was what Scots now wanted.

"The UK that existed before June 23 [Brexit vote] has fundamentally changed.

"I know that we are right to keep our third option on the table and that is to consider again in these very difficult circumstances if Scotland should be an independent country," she said in a press conference.

Jan Stromme | Getty Images

Scotland's economic prospects have darkened of late with the oil producing nation struggling to cope with a protracted slump in the commodity's price.

This was reflected in August when the country's deficit for 2015/16 widened to £15 billion ($19.9 bn), equivalent to 9.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and a poorer performance than the wider U.K.

Sturgeon made clear that although a Brexit vote had occurred, Scottish independence may not naturally follow.

"Choosing independence would be a big decision just as in 2014. There are many issues for people to weigh up. I don't presume the case has yet been won although every single poll has shown independence support to be higher than 18th September 2014," she said.

The Scottish leader launched her "independence conversation" in Stirling, where Scots hero William Wallace won a historic battle against the English.

Scotland has been in political union with England since the early 18th century.

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