Scotland should be a “thriving and driving force within the EU”, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The SNP leader said the Brexit process has demonstrated the power that small independent countries have in the EU.

In a statement published by the SNP, she questioned whether the UK Government would “finally listen” to Scotland.

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She said: “It is notable that of the 27 independent countries that decided the UK’s future last week, twelve of them are smaller than or similar in size to Scotland.

“Scotland should be a thriving and driving force within the EU. Instead we face being forced to the margins.

“In fact, one of the greatest ironies of the UK’s attempts to leave the EU in a quest to ‘take back control’ is that we have instead seen the power that small, independent countries actually have within the EU.”

The First Minister reiterated calls for constructive action from the UK Government during the Brexit extension to October 31, including Theresa May opening up her talks with Labour to all parties, enabling Scotland to stay in the single market while retaining freedom of movement, and holding a second referendum on any withdrawal deal with the option to remain.

Ms Sturgeon said: “[Theresa May’s] talks with Labour stalled because, as has been experienced by the SNP and the Scottish Government for the past two years, she is inexplicably and inflexibly tied to her red lines and has shown no willingness to compromise whatsoever.

“From start to finish the Tories’ approach to Brexit has been characterised by complacency, ineptitude and inflexibility, and as a result the UK is experiencing the greatest failure of governance in any of our lifetimes.”

She added: “The UK Government continues to follow a path which will make its citizens poorer and reduce its standing in the world.

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“I will continue to do everything in my power to ensure Scotland’s interests are protected.

“The question is, will the UK Government finally listen, or will they continue to ride roughshod over Scotland’s democratic will and our future prosperity?”

Earlier, Scotland’s Constitutional Relations Secretary Mike Russell also called for a second vote on any compromise Brexit deal reached before October 31.

Asked on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme if a second referendum should still be held in that situation, Mr Russell replied: “Yes. People have the right to choose, they have the right to say they don’t wish to do this.

“Things have changed enormously over the last three years and we also know that the original referendum was deeply flawed.

“I hope the Labour Party is in this position too in its discussions with the UK Government, because I don’t think it could be conceived of now without giving people the chance to say what they thought.”