Ruth Davidson calls on Theresa May to make single market deal UK-wide
Deal for Northern Ireland should apply UK-wide, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson warns
Ruth Davidson - Holyrood
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has called for Theresa May to make a deal brokered to give Northern Ireland access to the single market via the Irish republic applicable to the whole UK.
The Brexit deal was thought to be agreed yesterday to prevent a hard border being erected in Ireland, but the Democratic Unionist Party threatened to withdraw its support from May’s government if Northern Ireland wasn’t on the same terms as the rest of the UK.
May has since cancelled a statement to MPs today while she talks with the DUP.
Davidson warned giving Northern Ireland special treatment would undermine the integrity of the union.
“While I recognise the complexity of the current negotiations, no government of the Conservative and Unionist Party should countenance any deal that compromises the political, economic or constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom,” she said.
“All sides agree there should be no return to the borders of the past between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
“Similarly, jeopardising the UK's own internal market is in no-one's interest.
“If regulatory alignment in a number of specific areas is the requirement for a frictionless border, then the Prime Minister should conclude this must be on a UK-wide basis.”
Davidson’s intervention will increase pressure on the Prime Minister in negotiations, and echoes a similar call by the Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who has consistently argued for retaining access to the European single market and customs union.
SNP Foreign Affairs spokesperson Stephen Gethins MP said: “We recognise that issues concerning Scotland are separate from those in Ireland – however, if the UK government can make concessions for one part of the UK to effectively stay in the Single Market, there’s no reason why the case can’t be the same for another.
“The simplest solution to the Irish question would be for the whole of the UK to remain in the single market – which, regardless of the border issue, would be the best deal for jobs and household incomes outside of the EU.”
The Irish border, citizens' rights and the ‘divorce bill’ the UK will pay as it leaves are the three sticking point in ongoing negotiations between the EU and the UK Government.
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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