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Brexit negotiations - Scotland must be equal partner

Published: 23 Oct 2016 00:01
Part of:
International

Ministers to challenge UK Government at London meeting.

Scotland must be treated as an equal partner in the UK's negotiations with the European Union, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland's Place in Europe Michael Russell will make clear tomorrow.

The Joint Ministerial Committee (JMC) will meet tomorrow in London for the first time since the EU referendum to discuss the forthcoming EU negotiations and the mechanisms by which a UK approach and objectives for negotiations will be agreed.

Scottish Ministers will expect Prime Minister Theresa May and the UK Government to demonstrate how they intend to deliver on their commitment to involve the Scottish Government fully in discussions to develop an agreed UK approach and listen to alternative proposals for Scotland.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Mr Russell said:

"The UK Government needs to understand there is a triple mandate to maintain Scotland's relationship with, and place in, Europe.

"The clearly-expressed views of the people of Scotland, the democratically elected Scottish Government and the Scottish Parliament all need to be respected.

"But four months on from the referendum we have yet to see a proposal from the UK Government on how the views of people in Scotland will be taken into account.

"The Scottish Government is becoming increasingly concerned that the UK is heading for a hard Brexit with all the damage that will bring to the Scottish and UK economies.

"The Prime Minister has set the clock ticking and the UK Government must use the time before triggering article 50 to engage properly with all the devolved administrations and show that they are willing and able to treat Scotland as an equal partner.

"A majority of people in Scotland voted to maintain their relationship with Europe and we expect to see the UK Government take account of that and to formulate an agreed negotiating position.

"We will continue to pursue all options to protect Scotland's interests, including working with other devolved administrations and other parties to drive the UK away from the cliff edge of a hard Brexit and putting forward our own proposals for a different approach for Scotland within the UK.

"However, we can make no progress without clarity on what the UK Government wants from Brexit and how it intends to reach an agreement across the UK."

Notes to editors

The plenary meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee (JMC) is to take place tomorrow (Monday, 24 October) and will discuss issues around EU negotiations and the Economy.

The JMC is part of the inter-governmental machinery, which also includes meetings of JMC Europe and the Finance Ministers Quadrilateral.