New talks over power sharing
May insists Brexit negotiations will be as ‘one UK’
Prime Minister Theresa May today said her views on a second independence referendum for Scotland had not changed, and that she hoped to negotiate a Brexit deal that would benefit the whole of the UK.
During a visit to Scotland two days ahead of triggering Article 50 to signal Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, she said the nations of the United Kingdom were an “unstoppable force” when they acted together.
Mrs May, who met Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in a Glasgow hotel, said the UK was “a force for good, helping to build a better future for everyone”.
In a speech in East Kilbride, the Prime Minister added: “As we look to that future and as we face this great national moment together, I hope you will continue to play your part in the great national effort we need to build the stronger Britain, the fairer Britain, the more outward-looking Britain and the more united Britain that I am determined we should be once we emerge from this period of national change.”
Ahead of her meeting with Ms Sturgeon, she repeated her recent statements on a second independence poll: “Now is not the time to be talking about a second independence referendum and that’s for a couple of reasons.
“First of all, now is the point when we are triggering Article 50, we’re starting negotiations for leaving the European Union. Now is the time when we should be pulling together, not hanging apart. Pulling together to make sure we get the best possible deal for the whole of the UK.”
Mrs May said there have been “considerable discussions” with the Scottish government and the UK’s other devolved administrations over the Brexit talks, although Ms Sturgeon insists that Downing Street has “not moved one inch”.
Mrs May has also said previously that there are areas where the UK and Scottish governments are in agreement, such as workers’ rights.
It is thought that she gave similar assurances to Ms Sturgeon during their talks today, though it was not likely to quell calls by the SNP for a second vote on independence.
Ms Sturgeon had expected to hear of new powers being devolved to Scotland and there were no commitments from the Prime Minister.
From yesterday’s Daily Business
May to offer Holyrood deal to defuse indyref call
Theresa May will attempt to defuse the stand-off between Downing Street and Holyrood by offering Scotland new temporary powers that she hopes will weaken calls for a second independence referendum
Mrs May is believed to have scheduled a meeting with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon for tomorrow (Monday) and is thought to be prepared to offer assurances on protecting the rights of EU nationals, among other measures, as the UK severs ties with the bloc.
The Holyrood debate was suspended following last week’s terror attack in London, and on Tuesday the Greens are expected to back the SNP’s call for a section 30 order which would transfer referendum holding powers from Westminster to Holyrood.
Mrs May has repeatedly called for both governments to work together to achieve the best possible post-Brexit deal and according to Scotland on Sunday this will form the basis of her talks with the First Minister.
They will also discuss the Great Repeal Bill, reversing the 1970s legislation which took the UK into the EU. It will come before Westminster on Thursday and will see the repatriation of powers from Brussels to the UK.
This is a key source of conflict between the Holyrood and Westminster, although Mrs May has said that more powers would be devolved to the nations and regions of the UK.
A white paper will set out how the supremacy of EU law is ended and control over UK law is returned to Westminster, the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly and the Northern Ireland Assembly.
A UK government source said: “Next week we will get on with the job, and set out the steps we will take to ensure control of our laws lies in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast.”