Business as usual at Holyrood despite Brexit vote, insists Nicola Sturgeon
Nicola Sturgeon has insisted it will be business as usual for the Scottish Government, even though the fallout from the Brexit vote will "dominate" the work of MSPs for the next five years.
The First Minister stressed the "business of Government and Parliament will go on", despite the UK voting to leave the European Union.
With the majority of Scots having voted to stay in Europe, she said her priority and Holyrood's "should now be to do everything we can to protect Scotland's relationship with the EU".
As a result, she said MSPs "must also now consider the option of a second independence referendum - as that may well be the only way to protect Scotland's relationship with the EU".
Ms Sturgeon, writing for Holyrood magazine, said the fallout from the Brexit vote will "dominate the work of the Scottish Parliament for the next five years" and would "prove to be a watershed in the relatively short history of devolution".
New tax and welfare powers coming to MSPs from April 2017 mean the Parliament is "already heading for by far its busiest session", she added.
But while she said the " seismic political events of recent weeks have sent shockwaves around the world", she added: " I know that Holyrood can rise to this challenge. It may only be entering its fifth session, but the re-established Scottish Parliament has already shown it is capable of navigating its way through turbulent political waters."
She continued: "The result of the EU referendum means that work to implement these new powers will take place alongside another constitutional debate - but one very different to that in the last session.
"There can be absolutely no doubt of Scotland's desire to remain in the European Union, and for us to be dragged out against our will - as stands to happen - is democratically unacceptable.
"My priority - and the priority of the Scottish Parliament - should now be to do everything we can to protect Scotland's relationship with the EU."
With Scottish Government officials currently drafting the legislation for a second independence referendum, the First Minister said MSPs would have an "important role" in scrutinising this process.
But she also stressed the "business of Government and Parliament will go on" despite the fresh focus on the constitution.
Ms Sturgeon said: "The priorities that we laid out in our manifesto are unchanged: raising educational attainment, a transformational increase in childcare provision, reforming healthcare provision to meet the challenges of the future, supporting our businesses in creating jobs and making work fair, reforming taxation to make it more progressive and increasing investment in public services, and using the new social security powers to create a welfare system based on dignity and respect."