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Nicola Sturgeon: Scotland must stay in EU single market if Northern Ireland does

Agnes Chambre

3 min read

Nicola Sturgeon has said there is "no good practical reason" why Scotland cannot stay in the EU single market if a special deal is done to avoid a hard border in Ireland after Brexit.

Theresa May is preparing to agree to "continued regulatory alignment" between the Republic and Northern Ireland in order to clinch a deal in Brussels today.

That could effectively see Northern Ireland remain in the single market even after the rest of the UK has left.

SNP leader Ms Sturgeon took to Twitter to make clear that Scotland - which voted to remain in the EU in last year's referendum - should be given the same deal.

One SNP MP told BuzzFeed it will now be “impossible” for the UK government to deny the same for Scotland.

London mayor Sadiq Khan also seized on the reports, saying the move would have "huge ramifications" for London. 

The Prime Minister is having lunch with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier in a bid to thrash out the small print of an agreement. She is then due to hold talks with European Council president Donald Tusk.

Mrs May is hoping that a deal can be struck which will allow next week's EU Council summit to agree that sufficient progress has been made to allow the negotiations to move on to trade talks in the New Year.

A draft text of an agreement seen by RTE says: "In the absence of agreed solutions the UK will ensure that there continues to be no divergence from those rules of the internal market and the customs union which, now or in the future, support North South cooperation and the protection of the Good Friday Agreement."

A senior source in the Department for Exiting the European Union described the report as "speculation".

A spokesman for Mrs May said: "The Prime Minister has been clear that the United Kingdom is leaving the EU as a whole and that the territorial and economic integrity of the UK will be protected."

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