Sturgeon and May reach ‘understanding’ over Brexit
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.