Sturgeon more upbeat on
Politics: Meeting with PM ‘cordial’ but present EU bill will be rejected
Nicola Sturgeon has said agreement on Brexit is a step closer after meeting the prime minister at Downing Street.
The first minister last met Theresa May in March, when she said she found it difficult to establish any rapport because Mrs May appeared to be reading from a script.
But, after the latest meeting, Ms Sturgeon said relations had thawed and, although Holyrood will still reject the EU withdrawal bill as it stands, the foundations had been laid for changes that could be agreed upon.
She said: “It was cordial and constructive. I think we were both able to set out quite frankly our positions on the withdrawal bill.
“That doesn’t mean agreement will follow, but perhaps it provides the conditions now for reaching agreement.
“I made clear the Scottish Government wants to find agreement ... but I also made clear what our bottom lines are.”
Ms Sturgeon also stressed the Scottish Government agreed some UK frameworks were required, but should be agreed and not imposed.
She added: “We accept, as we have always done, that frameworks in some areas are necessary, but they should be reached by agreement and not imposed. The withdrawal bill, as it stands, would not be acceptable and we would not be able to recommend legislative consent.
“Discussions will continue and, hopefully, we can find some points of agreement in the weeks to come.”
A Downing Street spokeswoman agreed there had been progress.
She stated: “The prime minister said 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.
“They spoke about progress in agreeing principles on common frameworks at the recent joint ministerial committee and the prime minister reiterated that, as powers are repatriated from Brussels back to Britain, there will be a significant increase in the decision-making powers for the Scottish
“We would not be able to recommend legislative consent”
Government and other devolved administrations.”
However, Labour’s Lesley Laird, Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland, argued the people of Scotland were between a rock and a hard place.
She said: “Scotland is stuck between two obstinate governments, neither working in the best interests of the nation. Today’s meeting underlines that sad reality. The first minister refuses to rule out a second independence referendum, while the prime minister is intent on a race-to-the-bottom Brexit that hoards power in Westminster.
“Labour is firmly opposed to a second divisive independence referendum, and would deliver a jobs-first Brexit that passes powers directly from Brussels to Holyrood.”
WARMING: Theresa May, left, and Nicola Sturgeon are all smiles ahead of yesterday’s talks at 10 Downing Street