Second independence referendum would make the UK “looser and weaker”, warns Theresa May
Prime Minister and First Minister will meet today, with the Scottish Parliament expected to vote for a second referendum tomorrow and the UK Government expected to trigger Article 50 on Wednesday
Theresa May - photo credit: PA
Theresa May will use a trip to Scotland ahead of plans to trigger Article 50 to warn Nicola Sturgeon that a second independence referendum would make the UK “looser and weaker”.
The Prime Minister and First Minister will meet today, with the Scottish Parliament expected to vote for a second referendum tomorrow and the UK Government expected to trigger Article 50 and begin negotiations over leaving the EU on Wednesday.
Ahead of a visit to the Department for International Development in East Kilbride, Number Ten said Brexit negotiations will aim at making Britain a stronger, fairer, more united and more outward-looking country.
She will also pledge that the deal will work for all nations of the UK, and the UK as a whole.
Meanwhile Kezia Dugdale has written to Prime Minister Theresa May, calling for a Brexit deal which retains freedom of movement, access to the single market and guarantees the right of EU citizens resident in the UK.
The Scottish Labour leader said: “I believe a deal can be negotiated – on differential terms if necessary – which ensures that the interests of people across the UK are well-represented”.
Sturgeon outlined plans for a second referendum following the UK vote to leave the EU as part of plans to give Scots a choice between ‘hard Brexit’ and independence, with the PM responding to warn that, with Brexit negotiations yet to begin, “now is not the time” for a second vote.
Speaking ahead of the visit, May said “We stand on the threshold of a significant moment for Britain as we begin the negotiations that will lead us towards a new partnership with Europe.
“And I want to make it absolutely clear as we move through this process that this is not – in any sense – the moment that Britain steps back from the world. Indeed, we are going to take this opportunity to forge a more Global Britain. The closest friend and ally with Europe, but also a country that looks beyond Europe to build relationships with old friends and new allies alike.”
The UK Government is also expected to publish the Great Repeal Bill, which will transfer EU law into British legislation, on Thursday.
Dugdale’s letter to the PM says: “It is vital that your government works closely with the devolved administrations in the months ahead, and all constitutional focus must be on securing the best Brexit deal for the UK. The First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, has committed to working tirelessly in the pursuit of the best deal for the people of Wales. It is disappointing that the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, is ready to disengage from the process.”
Speaking in Edinburgh the First Minister will argue that, with immigration essential to maintaining Scotland’s population, “the case for a different approach here is, to my mind, overwhelming”
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