Theresa May Rejects Nicola Sturgeon’s Demands for Special Brexit Deal for Scotland

London, 23 Muharram 1438/24 October 2016 (MINA) – heresa May has offered to involve Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in regular formal talks on the Brexit process but she has ruled out allowing special deals for the devolved nations.

But Michael Russell, Scotland’s Brexit minister, has warned that Nicola Sturgeon believes “full independence has got to be on the table”.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Nicola Sturgeon has been absolutely clear that we must keep all options open. It would range from independence and other options would be available too. Of course independence has to be an option. It would be ridiculous to say it shouldn’t be. We have been put in a situation we didn’t ask to be in.”

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Mr Russell said it would be a “strange world” if special access to the single market was secured for bankers, but not for Scotland, which voted overwhelmingly to remain in the European Union on June 23.

Downing Street said Mrs May will tell the leaders of the devolved administrations concerned about a possible hard Brexit that final decisions about her approach had not yet been taken and “how the UK leaves the EU will not boil down to a binary choice”.

Mrs May will come under pressure from Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Welsh counterpart Carwyn Jones and Northern Ireland’s leader Arlene Foster and her deputy Martin McGuinness at a meeting in Downing Street.

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The devolved administrations are keen to secure continued participation in the single market and want to hold votes on Mrs May’s approach before she triggers Article 50, formally beginning the Brexit process.
Prospect of a second independence referendum

The Prime Minister has offered them a “direct line” to Brexit Secretary David Davis, who will chair a new forum bringing together representatives from Westminster, Holyrood, Cardiff Bay and Stormont for regular talks on the situation.

Ms Sturgeon backed Mr Jones’ position, telling the Prime Minister: “It will not be acceptable for the devolved administrations to simply be consulted on UK Government plans. We must have meaningful input into the decision making structure and the formation of negotiating positions.”

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In a hint at the prospect of a second independence referendum, she added that “all possible options” were being considered.

She told Mrs May: “As you know following Scotland’s unequivocal vote to remain in the EU, the Scottish Government has a democratic duty to protect all of Scotland’s interests and we are considering all possible options to ensure Scotland’s continuing relationship with, and place in, Europe. (T/R07/R01)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)