Theresa May: It is clear “beyond doubt” that EU relations are reserved to UK government
Nicola Sturgeon warns that Scotland’s views on Brexit must be taken seriously
Theresa May - PA
Theresa May has said it is clear “beyond doubt” that EU relations are reserved to the UK government, after Nicola Sturgeon warned that Scotland’s views on Brexit must be taken seriously.
The Prime Minister will chair a meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee (JMC) in Cardiff today, the group comprising representatives from Stormont, Holyrood, the Welsh Assembly and the UK government, to discuss Brexit.
They will discuss alternative settlements for Brexit put forward by the devolved administrations, including the Scottish government’s proposal for keeping Scotland in the EU single market.
But ahead of talks the Prime Minister has reiterated that the devolved administrations do not have a veto over the Brexit process, following last week’s ruling in the Supreme Court.
May said the judgment that Holyrood, Cardiff and Stormont would not get binding votes on Article 50 had made it “clear beyond doubt” that relations with the EU would be determined by the UK government.
However, Sturgeon warned that time is running out for the Prime Minister to “heed the voice of Scotland”.
Speaking ahead of today’s meeting, which she branded "one of the most important since the result of the EU referendum”, Sturgeon said: “It comes at a crucial juncture, with the clock ticking down to the triggering of Article 50 and with, so far, no sign whatsoever that the UK government is taking Scotland's position remotely seriously.
"The JMC meeting in Cardiff is another chance for the prime minister to heed the voice of Scotland and those of the other devolved governments - and she must take the opportunity to do so.
"We have compromised by publishing detailed proposals to keep Scotland in the European single market even if the rest of the UK leaves.
"Those compromise proposals are formally on the agenda for this meeting, and so the prime minister has a chance to show she is serious about her pledge to properly consider those proposals."
The JMC will today also discuss intergovernmental relations and ways to help British businesses to trade and invest ahead of the UK leaving the EU.
May, who will hold talks with Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Dublin later today, said that she hoped the JMC meeting would be constructive.
In a statement, she said: “We will not agree on everything, but that doesn’t mean we will shy away from the necessary conversations and I hope we will have further constructive discussions today.
“We have also had the Supreme Court judgement which made clear beyond doubt that relations with the EU are a matter for the UK government and UK Parliament.
“We should not forget that that means MPs representing every community in the UK will be fully involved in the passage of Article 50 through parliament.
“The United Kingdom voted to leave the EU, and the UK Government has a responsibility to deliver on that mandate and secure the right deal for the whole of the UK.
“We all have a part to play in providing certainty and leadership so that together we can make a success of the opportunities ahead.”
Brexit Secretary David Davis, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox and other Cabinet ministers will also be in attendance at today’s JMC.
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