Scotland Frustrated at Brexit Talks: Britain Still Without a Strategy

Written by | Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish First Minister, on Monday (24 October) voiced her frustration at her negotiations with British Prime Minister Theresa May. She said she would not watch her country be “driven off a hard Brexit cliff”. She expressed her criticism following the talks with Ms May as well as the remaining first ministers of Wales and Northern Ireland. “I don’t know any more now about the UK government’s approach to the EU negotiations than I did before I went into the meeting,” she said regarding the outcome of the talks.
Ms Sturgeon again raised the possibility of Scotland having a second referendum for the Scottish independence if Britain does not ensure a continued access to Europe’s single market. She added that she would “try to be reasonable” but also warned that “What I’m not prepared to do is to stand back and watch Scotland thrown off a hard Brexit cliff edge.”
London has promised Brussels to formally start the process of leaving the EU by the end of March but it has not outlined any strategy yet beyond saying that curbing migration would be prioritized. Meanwhile, Scotland is afraid that this lack of strategy would lead to leaving the single market, which is strongly opposed by Scottish businesses and the government.
This goes against Ms May’s earlier promise that she would find a “unified approach” to Brexit, thus rejecting the idea of a separate deal for Scotland.  “A single UK position is vital to protect the UK’s interests as a whole. We need to be sure we are not putting up barriers to trade within the UK,” her spokesperson commented. Ms May also condemned the recent visits of Scottish ministers in Brussels, warning that this could “undermine” London’s strategy. Ms Sturgeon, however, promptly rebutted the British Prime Minister’s concerns: “I can’t undermine something that doesn’t exist. It doesn’t appear to me that there is a negotiating strategy.”

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