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Nationalist government seek talks on "least bad Brexit" for Scotland

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EDINBURGH (Reuters) - Scotland’s devolved nationalist government said on Thursday it wanted to meet all parties to work out “the least bad Brexit for Scotland,” arguing that the change in the political landscape made such talks necessary.

Scots voted to stay in the European Union in last year’s referendum, but their choice was outweighed by England, and the UK as a whole voted 52-48 percent for Brexit.

The Edinburgh government, run by Nicola Sturgeon’s Scottish National Party (SNP), had argued that meant Scots should have a new vote on leaving the UK, opening the door to them staying in Europe on their own.

But her party lost seats in Britain’s national parliament in last week’s national election - a result seen as a sign of falling support for Scotland going it alone.

The SNP is now mulling over the result and what it means for independence, Sturgeon has said.

The SNP’s Michael Russell, Scotland’s Brexit minister, said he wanted to meet Scotland’s other parties to “agree on the key issues which will produce progress on securing the least bad Brexit for Scotland and the best transition that will protect a re-entry (to the EU) by Scotland, should Scotland choose that route at a future date.”

There have been calls for wider consultation on Brexit in the rest of the UK, including from Britain’s last prime minister, David Cameron of the centre-right Conservative party.

“Scotland voted against Brexit. I think most of the Scottish Conservatives will want to see perhaps some changes with the (Brexit) policy going forward,” Cameron told a business conference in Poland, according to the Financial Times.

Reporting by Elisabeth O’Leary; Editing by Andrew Heavens