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Sturgeon holds talks with EU's Brexit negotiator Barnier

First Minister said Scotland and rest of UK were on 'increasingly' different political paths.

Barnier and Sturgeon met in Brussels.
Barnier and Sturgeon met in Brussels. European Commission

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has held talks with the EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.

The SNP leader said Scotland and the rest of the UK were "increasingly" on different political paths, illustrated by the "horror show" of the Conservative leadership contest.

Addressing the European Policy Centre think tank in Brussels, Sturgeon said: "The people of Scotland have to have a choice before it's too late to stop the damage of Brexit being done.

"Increasingly, Scotland and the UK are on different political paths. We have to confront whether the better response to that is to have the ability to be independent and shape our own future."

Sturgeon also made clear that she was seeking to keep Scotland in the European Union, not to simply benefit from the free movement of trade and people.

She said: "We also want to contribute Scotland's ideas and talents to Europe's shared challenges and to uphold and exemplify our shared values."

Barnier and Sturgeon held face-to-face talks.
Barnier and Sturgeon held face-to-face talks. European Commission

She spoke out after talks with Barnier, where she again set out the Scottish Government position, and is due to meet EU president Jean-Claude Juncker later.

Her visit comes weeks after the European elections, where the SNP increased its share of the vote and won three of the six spots for Scottish MEPs.

Speaking ahead of the trip, the First Minister said: "People living in Scotland have shown once again that they comprehensively reject Brexit and want to remain as a European nation.

"Membership of the EU not only has huge economic benefits for Scotland, but is the basis of the core values we share around democracy, equality, co-operation and human rights.

"My engagements in Brussels are an opportunity to outline the Scottish Government's support for those values and how they contribute to a better Scotland, Europe and wider world.

"On issues such as climate change and tackling inequality we can all work together to ensure the wellbeing of our citizens, as well as the wealth of member states."

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