Stur­geon and May reach ‘un­der­stand­ing’ over Brexit

The Herald - - FRONT PAGE -

The Prime Min­is­ter wel­comes the First Min­is­ter to No.10 Down­ing Street ahead of their face-to-face meet­ing on Brexit.


repa­tri­ated to West­min­ster when the UK leaves Europe – not to Holyrood.

She said the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment could still not give leg­isla­tive con­sent to the Bill, as drafted, and that no agree­ment had been reached on fix­ing it.

But, in a strik­ing change of tone, Ms Stur­geon also said the talks were “con­struc­tive and cor­dial” and she and Mrs May had “de­vel­oped a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of each other’s po­si­tions”.

Af­ter the two lead­ers last met eight months ago, Ms Stur­geon com­plained she had found it “im­pos­si­ble to get any hu­man con­nec­tion” with a cold and im­per­sonal Mrs May.

Speak­ing to the me­dia out­side Num­ber 10, Ms Stur­geon said: “I made very clear… that the With­drawal Bill as it stands would not be ac­cept­able and we would not be able to rec­om­mend ap­proval of that. That re­mains the po­si­tion.

“But, hope­fully, hav­ing had the op­por­tu­nity to air the con­cerns that we have in more de­tail, we will be able to see progress in the weeks to come.”

She added: “While we didn’t reach agree­ment, I think we de­vel­oped a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of each other’s po­si­tions. I made clear that the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment wants to find agree­ment on the With­drawal Bill. We op­pose Brexit but we un­der­stand with­drawal leg­is­la­tion is nec­es­sary, so we want to find agree­ment.

“I also made clear what our bot­tom lines are on that Bill. Dis­cus­sions will con­tinue and hope­fully we can reach some points of agree­ment in the weeks to come.”

Ms Stur­geon also said Mrs May’s plan to in­clude the ex­act day and

or drive or co­her­ence” that Brexit mer­its.

Brexit min­is­ter Steve Baker said clause one in the Bill, which would re­peal the Euro­pean Com­mu­ni­ties Act 1972, would end one of the widest-rang­ing pow­ers on the Bri­tish statute book and make it unar­guable sovereignty was with Par­lia­ment.

He called Mr Field’s amend­ment “tech­ni­cally de­fi­cient” given it did not set a spe­cific time for Bri­tain’s with­drawal, as he called on the Labour MP to with­draw it and sup­port the Gov­ern­ment.

Mr Baker added: “We recog­nise the im­por­tance of be­ing crys­tal clear on the set­ting of exit day, and the Gov­ern­ment is keen to pro­vide the cer­tainty that [Mr Field] and oth­ers are seek­ing.”

Tory for­mer at­tor­ney gen­eral Mr Grieve told MPs no amount of “arm twist­ing” would make him vote for an amend­ment fix­ing exit date at 11pm on March 29.

hour of Brexit in the Bill was not “sen­si­ble”, as it would nar­row room for ma­noeu­vre in talks with the EU.

Down­ing Street said the PM told Ms Stur­geon “it re­mains her pri­or­ity to pro­vide cer­tainty to busi­nesses and peo­ple both in Scot­land and across the coun­try, as well as pro­tect­ing our UK in­ter­nal mar­ket”.

Tory MSP Adam Tomkins said: “It’s clear there is a deal to be done on the re­turn of pow­ers which both re­spects de­vo­lu­tion and pro­tects the UK in­ter­nal mar­ket.

Pic­ture: Dan Kit­wood/Getty Images.

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