Theresa May in plea to Scottish and Welsh first ministers
Nicola Sturgeon and Mark Drakeford to tell the Prime Minister to rule out a no-deal Brexit at London summit
Theresa May - PA
Theresa May will use a meeting with Nicola Sturgeon and Welsh FM Mark Drakeford to urge them to back her compromise deal with the European Union over the terms of Brexit.
The Prime Minister will meet the devolved governments as well as the Northern Ireland Civil Service, who are running affairs after Stormont talks broke down, in London today.
Both the Scottish and Welsh parliaments have already voted to reject the deal.
May spoke ahead of the summit, insisting her deal “delivers for the whole of the UK”.
She said: “This deal honours the result of the referendum - taking back control of our money, laws and borders, protecting jobs and livelihoods, and freeing the UK to strike new trade deals with countries around the world.
“That's why it is more important than ever that the devolved administrations get behind this deal and listen to businesses and industry bodies across all four nations who have been clear that it provides the certainty they need.
“From the Scottish Fishermen's Federation and Diageo, to Airbus and Manufacturing NI, business and industry right across the UK want to us to deliver this deal as it gives them the clarity and stability they need to protect jobs and living standards.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon called on May to extend the deadline for leaving the EU, currently only 100 days away. The date was fixed as part of UK legislation.
“It would be unforgiveable if Theresa May was trying to run down the clock to Brexit day. She must immediately inform the EU that she will seek their approval for an extension of Article 50 if MPs reject her deal in January,” she said.
“This will allow time for an alternative way forward to be found, preferably another referendum on EU membership
“With 100 days to go before the UK is due to leave the EU, the UK government must stop threatening the disaster of no-deal, and start putting people's jobs and living standards first.”
Drakeford said: “A no deal Brexit would be a catastrophic failure on behalf of the UK Government. However, it is becoming clear the chaotic shambles around the Prime Minister’s deal on the table is moving us towards a position that will cause significant disruption, risking jobs and people’s livelihoods.
“We have been preparing for a no deal outcome as it has become increasingly apparent the UK Government was failing to negotiate an acceptable deal. We will be further intensifying our work to develop contingency plans.”
No-deal preparations were dramatically ramped up, with the Treasury pledging an extra £2bn to ready departments and 3,500 army personnel being put on standby.
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