Stur­geon re­news ul­ti­ma­tum de­spite ‘con­struc­tive’ talks

Scottish Daily Mail - - News - By Rachel Wat­son

NI­COLA Stur­geon yes­ter­day re­newed her threat to de­rail Brexit fol­low­ing crunch talks with Theresa May.

The First Min­is­ter said that de­spite a ‘con­struc­tive’ and ‘cor­dial’ meet­ing with Mrs May the pair had failed to ‘reach an agree­ment’ on the EU With­drawal Bill.

The two lead­ers met in Down­ing Street yes­ter­day for the first time since for­mal Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions be­gan in March in an ef­fort to break the dead­lock over key leg­is­la­tion.

The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment is re­fus­ing to put the Bill for­ward for leg­isla­tive con­sent at Holyrood un­less changes are made, with SNP min­is­ters ar­gu­ing that as it stands the Bill would al­low West­min­ster to launch a ‘power grab’.

How­ever, the UK Gov­ern­ment has re­futed this claim, with of­fi­cials in­sist­ing that the Scot­tish par­lia­ment will be given a num­ber of new pow­ers.

Yes­ter­day’s meet­ing, held fol­low­ing an in­vi­ta­tion from the Prime Min­is­ter, lasted around 45 min­utes.

After­wards, Miss Stur­geon Deputy Scot­tish Po­lit­i­cal Edi­tor in­sisted they had ‘de­vel­oped a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of each other’s po­si­tions’ but she had ‘not yet’ heard any­thing from the UK Gov­ern­ment that made her think she could rec­om­mend that Holyrood gives the With­drawal Bill its con­sent.

Miss Stur­geon said: ‘We want to find agree­ment. But I also made clear what our bot­tom line is on that Bill, so dis­cus­sions will con­tinue and hope­fully we can reach some points of agree­ment in the weeks to come.’

A Num­ber 10 spokesman said Mrs May em­pha­sised to Miss Stur­geon that ‘as pow­ers are repa­tri­ated from Brus­sels back to Bri­tain there will be a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in the de­ci­sion­mak­ing pow­ers for the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment and other de­volved ad­min­is­tra­tions’.

He added: ‘The Prime Min­is­ter en­cour­aged the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment to con­tinue to work with coun­ter­parts to se­cure the best out­come for the peo­ple of Scot­land and the whole of the UK.’

Meet­ing: Mrs May and Ni­cola Stur­geon at No 10 yes­ter­day

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