Monday, October 24, 2016

Referendum if Scotland's vote against Brexit not respected

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today warned British Prime Minister Theresa May of holding an independent referendum if Scotland's vote against Brexit is "not respected".

After talks in Downing Street, she said she was not prepared to see "Scotland driven off a hard Brexit cliff- edge".

She and the first ministers of Wales and Northern Ireland have demanded to be fully consulted on Brexit negotiations with the EU.

But Downing Street said it was vital not to "undermine" the UK's position.

The Scottish and Welsh leaders want the devolved legislatures and Parliament, all to vote on the UK's approach when formal talks begins with the European Union about Brexit.

In the June referendum, a majority of Scots, as well as voters in Northern Ireland, had opted to stay in the EU whereas Wales and England had a majority for leaving.

The issue was discussed as the joint ministerial committee - bringing together?May, Sturgeon, Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones and Northern Ireland's First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness - met for the first time since 2014.

Asked about calls for different parts of the UK to be able to opt in or out of the single market, the prime minister's official spokeswoman said a united UK negotiating position was "vital to protect the UK's interest as a whole".

After the meeting, Sturgeon said she had received "no more information or detail" about the UK negotiating position, hearing only "warm words" from the UK government.

She said : "I'm not going to stand by and watch Scotland driven off a hard Brexit cliff-edge. Scotland's vote to stay has to be respected.

"There's not a bit of what I'm doing just now that's bluffing or game-playing. This is not a game of chicken. It's not a game at all."

She told reporters: "If all we get from the negotiations is a door slammed in our face, Scotland should be able to chose a better option."

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