SNP urges change of approach
Sturgeon calls for ‘four nation’ Brexit talks
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon will set out proposals for a UK wide consensus approach to the Brexit negotiations as she joins the SNP’s reduced group of 35 MPs at Westminster today.
The First Minister will use the opportunity of the first meeting of the new SNP parliamentary group to call for a short pause in the Brexit negotiations so that a new four nation, cross party position can be put together that recognises the outcome of the election and the rejection of the Tories hard Brexit position.
Her call for a united approach follows a similar demand from Labour’s Yvette Cooper over the weekend for a cross-party group to undertake the Brexit negotiations.
The SNP proposal includes
· Accepting EU offers of a short pause before negotiations begin to develop a new position.
· Including the devolved governments in the negotiations and re-establishing the Joint Ministerial Committee with immediate effect.
· Establishing an advisory group containing cross party representation alongside representatives of all devolved governments to agree a new position for the UK and oversee the Brexit negotiations
· Ensuring representation for both sides of the political debate in Northern Ireland in the advisory group
· Placing membership of the single market and the customs union at the heart of those proposals
· Guaranteeing the rights of EU nationals to remain with immediate effect.
Ms Sturgeon claims the the Scottish Government’s compromise position – that the UK would leave the EU but remain in the single market and that the Scottish Government should be at the negotiating table – was endorsed by the electorate in this election and provides a blue print for a new UK position.
Speaking ahead of meeting the new parliamentary group in Westminster, she said: “In what is a very unstable situation for the UK Government, it is essential that time is taken to secure a consensus over the approach to Brexit negotiations.
“The Tories hard Brexit plan has been rejected and we cannot allow the Brexit negotiations to become hostage to the inability of either the Tories or Labour to command a clear majority. It is imperative that we now build a cross party, all government approach to Brexit that will protect all of our interests at this highly uncertain time.
“The strongest possible position in the Brexit negotiations will be one that is backed by all parties and all governments across the UK.
“As a first step it is now imperative that the UK Government takes a short pause before beginning negotiations to work with others to put together a new position – one that is truly based on the interests of the whole of the UK.
“The Tory position on Brexit does not carry popular support, is not backed by all four nations of the UK or a majority of MPs and any attempt to continue with it will be disastrous for Scotland and for Britain.
“A new position should be agreed swiftly between cross party representatives in Westminster and the democratically elected governments of all parts of the UK as well as both sides of the political debate in Northern Ireland.
“At the same time the devolved governments must now be included in the negotiations and the Joint Ministerial Committee re-established.
“And at the heart of this position must be maintaining our place in the single market and in the customs union. That is where common ground lies.
“The SNP and the Scottish Government are ready to begin discussions around such a position immediately and I call on all parties to come together to build a new way forward.”