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Queen greeted with rainbow flag at state opening of Scottish Parliament

Joseph McCormick July 2, 2016

The Scottish Parliament has flown the rainbow flag ahead of the state opening by the Queen.

The flag is flown alongside the Scottish, British and EU flags outside as the Queen arrived to formally open the fifth season of the Scottish Parliament.

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The Riding Procession will be seen by around 2,500 people, it is estimated, as it takes place on the Royal Mile following the opening.

After arriving shortly after 11, the Queen addressed the Holyrood Chamber as part of the ceremony. She was greeted by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Presiding Office Ken Macintosh.

Music, poetry and speeches will be heard at the ceremony.

Mr Macintosh told the Queen that the Parliament “stands ready for the challenges that lie ahead of us” and that “every MSP in this chamber is proud to represent the people of Scotland.”

Noting the results of the EU referendum, the presiding officer added: “In these few short weeks, weeks of unprecedented political turbulence, I have already seen a real willingness to work cooperatively and collaboratively.

“I have seen the emergence of a shared agenda to clarify the identity and role of the Scottish Parliament and a shared recognition that it is more important than ever that the parliament finds its own voice – a voice of hope, to echo Donald Dewar, a voice for the future.”

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Ms Sturgeon last week said Scotland could effectively veto the UK’s departure from the EU.

She had previously said her country will go into talks “immediately” with EU member states and EU agencies, with a view to maintaining EU membership.

She also said a second Scottish independence referendum was “highly likely”, adding that she would have “immediate” discussions on Scotland’s continued membership of the EU.

Before the referendum took place, Ms Sturgeon told PinkNews why she thought the UK should remain members of the EU.

“One of the reasons why I think it’s important to stay in the EU is around social and employment rights that the EU has introduced and protected.

“I think different countries will take their own decisions on things, we touched on some of that already, but, it’s important there is a sort of common understanding of rights across the European Union.

“I think that membership of the EU guarantees that.”

More: Nicola Sturgeon, Queen Elizabeth II, Scotland

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