Theresa May to offer Nicola Sturgeon a “direct line” to UK Brexit Secretary David Davis
The Prime Minister will chair a Joint Ministerial Committee, which comprises leaders of the UK, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish governments
Theresa May and Nicola Sturgeon in Bute House
Theresa May will today offer Nicola Sturgeon a “direct line” to UK Brexit Secretary David Davis to allow them to help shape the UK's EU exit.
The Prime Minister will chair a Joint Ministerial Committee, which comprises the leaders of the UK, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish governments, where she will offer a direct feed to the Brexit department in an effort to engage the devolved administrations in Britain’s EU exit plans.
May will also propose a new official forum, which will be chaired by Davis, allowing the leaders to put forward their proposals on “how to seize on the opportunities” of Brexit.
The move follows calls from Sturgeon for the Scottish government to be treated as an “equal partner” in the Brexit negotiation process.
Writing in the Financial Times today, Sturgeon urged May to pursue a “flexible” deal whereby the devolved nations can opt to retain access to the single market.
Both the Scottish First Minister and Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones also want the devolved administrations and parliament to have a vote on the Government's Brexit strategy.
The Institute for Government meanwhile has warned May she faces a “full-blown constitutional crisis” unless agreement on Brexit terms is agreed between the devolved administrations and UK government.
Should agreement not be reached on the “core planks” of the UK’s negotiating position before entering talks, there could be a “serious breakdown in relations between the four governments and nations of the UK”, the group warned.
Ahead of today’s meeting – the first Joint Ministerial Committee in two years - May said: “I am determined that as we make a success of our exit from the European Union, we in turn further strengthen our own enduring union.
“The great union between us has been the cornerstone of our prosperity in the past - and it is absolutely vital to our success in the future.
“The country is facing a negotiation of tremendous importance and it is imperative that the devolved administrations play their part in making it work.
“The new forum I am offering will be the chance for them all to put forward their proposals on how to seize the opportunities presented by Brexit and deliver the democratic decision expressed by the people of the UK.”
Number 10 is proposing for the committee to meet again in November and then once more before Christmas.
May has pledged to trigger Article 50 – the legal process for quitting the EU – before the end of March 2017.
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