At the time of writing we are in the midst of the most chaotic infighting ever seen in the two main UK Unionist Parties, in the wake of the result of the referendum on UK membership of the EU. To date we have seen the resignation of David Cameron and of the UK's Commissioner, Lord Hill, mass resignations from the Westminster Labour shadow cabinet and total shock and horror on the faces of leading Brexit supporters realising that they have won and they do not have a clue what to do next.

The result certainly underlined the fact that the UK is made up of different countries. The result in Scotland, with all areas voting to remain, could not have been more of a contrast to the result in England and Wales. In Scotland we voted to renew our reputation as an outward looking, open and inclusive country, voted to protect our place in the world's largest single market and our freedom to travel, live, work, study and retire in other EU Member States. Yet now we face being taken out of the EU against our will.

The hypocrisy and lies from the UK Leave campaign unravel by the day, as they backtrack on almost every significant promise pledged during their campaign. Pro-Brexit Daniel Hannan MEP now says, "leaving the EU will not solve the UK's immigration crisis overnight".

Iain Duncan Smith MP backtracked on one of the most used claims of the UK Leave campaign that all UK contributions to the EU could now go to the NHS. The oft repeated lie of the so-called '£350 million sent from the UK to the EU on a weekly basis' was dismissed by Nigel Farage MEP, the day after the UK voted for Brexit.

The SNP campaign for a positive remain vote in the referendum paid off, emphasising that the wide-ranging number of benefits of EU membership to Scotland far outweigh the negatives.

What exactly will follow in the weeks and months ahead is uncertain. The Treaty Article 50, which sketches out a process for a member state to quit the EU, is relatively new and has never been utilised before. Once a formal notice has been lodged by the UK, a maximum two year period is set down for negotiations to conclude, unless the member states unanimously agree to extend that time limit. It appears that the formal process of negotiating a UK exit from the EU may not commence until after a new Tory leader and PM is in place.

While the Tory and Labour Parties disintegrate, Nicola Sturgeon has shown exemplary leadership in declaring her determination to explore every possible avenue in seeking to ensure that Scotland can continue to benefit from the single market and the many other gains that voters in Scotland voted to retain with our EU membership. As Nicola pledged in the immediate aftermath of the result, the SNP Government will accelerate talks with the EU Institutions about Scotland's place in the EU.

Naturally, the possibility of a second referendum on Independence must be on the table, and available when people in Scotland are ready to exercise that option. Already there are signs of significant changes in many peoples views on Independence. Nicola summed up our position rather well when she said that "the UK that Scotland voted to stay in doesn't exist anymore."

Ian Hudghton MEP

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