‘Weak­nesses’ shown in de­vo­lu­tion set-up

Nicola Stur­geon again urges Tory lead­ers to con­sider keeping the whole UK in the sin­gle market

The Courier & Advertiser (Fife Edition) - - POLITICS - LEWIS MCKENZIE

B rex it has high­lighted“real weak­nesses” in the UK’s de­vo­lu­tion set­tle­ment, Nicola Stur­geon said, as she again urged Tory lead­ers to con­sider keeping the whole UK in the sin­gle market.

She spoke out af­ter “frank” ex­changes with Cabi­net Of­fice Min­is­ter David Lid­ing­ton on the dif­fer­ences be­tween the Scot­tish and UK gov­ern­ments over their ap­proach to ex­it­ing the Euro­pean Union (EU).

The first min­is­ter was speak­ing fol­low­ing a meet­ing of the Bri­tish-Ir­ish Coun­cil on the Isle of Man, which was also at­tended by Welsh First Min­is­ter Car­wyn Jones and Ire­land’s Leo Varad­kar.

She said: “I will make no bones about the fact that the Brexit ex­pe­ri­ence has ex­posed real weak­nesses within the de­vo­lu­tion set­tle­ment that will re­quire them to be worked through and re­solved along the way.

“There have been frus­tra­tions on the part of the Scot­tish Govern­ment about lack of en­gage­ment and in­volve­ment – ob­vi­ously we’ve had quite heated de­bates and dis­cus­sions around power grabs on the de­volved par­lia­ments and is­sues around how the power of the de­volved ad­min­is­tra­tions are re­spected.”

She added: “There’s no point in not be­ing up front and frank about that, and it’s some­thing David and I, and Car­wyn Jones, touched on this morn­ing that we need to make sure that we are recog­nis­ing that and think­ing how we re­solve th­ese is­sues in fu­ture.”

“In some ways, per­haps, those is­sues have ac­tu­ally strength­ened the Scot­land­Wales re­la­tion­ship over the last cou­ple of years and that has huge ben­e­fits for a whole range of rea­sons.

“Sim­i­larly, I don’t think the re­la­tion­ship be­tween Scot­land and Ire­land has ever been stronger than it is at the mo­ment.

“It’s an in­cred­i­bly good re­la­tion­ship that has huge eco­nomic, so­cial and cul­tural ben­e­fits for both of our coun­tries.

“Around the Bri­tish and Ir­ish Coun­cil ta­ble I de­tect noth­ing but strong de­sire to en­sure that what­ever hap­pens in Brexit, we are all work­ing to make sure that th­ese re­la­tion­ships con­tinue to be as strong as they are.”

Ms Stur­geon also said that if a deal pro­posed by the UK Govern­ment can­not com­mand a ma­jor­ity in the House of Com­mons, it should not mean that de­part­ing the EU with no deal is “in­evitable”.

The first min­is­ter has pre­vi­ously said she would not vote for any deal that does not keep the UK within the sin­gle market and the cus­toms union.

It fol­lows a vote in Holy­rood on Wed­nes­day that saw a ma­jor­ity of MSPs ex­press their “un­equiv­o­cal sup­port” for a ref­er­en­dum on the fi­nal terms of Brexit.

The Brexit ex­pe­ri­ence has ex­posed real weak­nesses within the de­vo­lu­tion set­tle­ment that will re­quire them to be worked through and re­solved along the way. NICOLA STUR­GEON

Pic­ture: PA.

First Min­is­ter Nicola Stur­geon at the Bri­tish Ir­ish Coun­cil’s 31st sum­mit meet­ing.

Comments

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.