Theresa May’s deputy warns Scottish and Welsh governments not to block post-Brexit trade deals
Theresa May’s de facto deputy has warned that the Scottish and Welsh governments could scupper Britain’s post-Brexit trade deals by demanding separate powers from Brussels.
David Lidington said the devolved nations risk “splitting” the UK economy, leaving it “disjointed” and “struggling to make our way in a new world outside the EU”.
In an article for the Sunday Telegraph, the Cabinet Office Minister wrote: “We could choose to leave as a country split and an economy disjointed, struggling to make our way in a new world outside the EU.
“Or we can come together as one United Kingdom, confidently seizing new global opportunities as we build a prosperous, secure nation fit for the future challenges we will face.
“By maintaining legal UK frameworks where strictly necessary, we retain our ability to act in the national interest when we need to – protecting our nation’s security or signing trade deals with the growth markets of tomorrow, using the leverage and the diplomatic network of the UK to sell Islay whisky, Caerphilly cheese and buses from Ballymena throughout the world.”
His remarks prompted Nicole Sturgeon to tweet that her party was "simply seeking to protect the powers Scotland already has".
The SNP has repeatedly expressed its intention to keep Scotland part of the single market after the UK leaves the EU.
But Mr Lidington said a “different sets of rules” for different parts of Britain after Brexit was not an option.
The intervention comes after John Swinney, Scotland’s deputy first minister, this week said Holyrood needed the power to “act differently in Scotland when that is the right thing to do”.