Theresa May not taking devolved govts’ Brexit demands ‘remotely seriously’ – Sturgeon
Britain’s devolved governments of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland want a bigger say in Brexit negotiations with the European Union, but Prime Minister Theresa May is determined to lock them out.
Leaders of the devolved governments pressed Prime Minister May on the issue at a meeting in Cardiff, where Scottish and Welsh representatives produced plans that would allow them to retain access to the single market.
Scotland accused the central government of not taking its proposals “remotely seriously,” and said an agreement between the two administrations was not “anywhere close.”
The PM has said devolved governments will not be given a decisive role in Brexit talks.
Last week, the UK’s Supreme Court backed May’s stance, ruling that the Scottish Parliament and Northern Irish and Welsh Assemblies could not hold separate votes on Article 50.
Ahead of Monday’s meeting, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said time was running out for Westminster to “heed the voice of Scotland,” according to BBC News.
She added the meeting would be the most important since the EU referendum.
“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,” Sturgeon said.
“The JMC (Joint Ministerial Committee) 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.”
Monday’s talks also saw Sinn Fein’s new leader, Michelle O’Neill, speak out against the government.
“The Tory government have effectively set aside the democratic process to pursue their own narrow political agenda. We need all of those opposed to Brexit to stand together,” she said.
“I will lay out the reasonable and achievable objective of the north being designated special status within the EU.”
BREAKING: Government releases Brexit White Paperhttps://t.co/Zp8H5AXolE— RT UK (@RTUKnews) January 26, 2017
Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones called on May to uphold promises made during the referendum campaign that Wales will not lose out on funding as a result of Brexit.
Jones spoke with May ahead of the meeting, where they discussed concerns over single market access.
A spokesman for the Welsh government said: “The positions are not identical, but not irreconcilable at this stage.”
The PM 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,” she said.
“We have also had the Supreme Court judgment 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.”