Ruth Davidson piles pressure on Theresa May as she backs UK-wide Brexit trade deal
Ruth Davidson has piled pressure on Theresa May over Brexit after she insisted any trade deal must not treat Northern Ireland differently from the rest of the United Kingdom.
The leader of the Scottish Conservatives said any plans to maintain EU regulation and keep trade flowing smoothly “must be on a UK-wide basis”.
It comes after DUP leader Arlene Foster - whose 10 MPs prop up Mrs May's minority government - pulled the plug on an exit arrangement between the UK and Brussels at the eleventh hour yesterday.
Leaked reports revealed Mrs May was on the verge of a deal that would see Northern Ireland retain "regulatory alignment" with the bloc to preserve its open border with the Republic.
But the news sparked fears that Northern Ireland could be effectively left in the European single market and customs union while the rest of the UK left.
Ms Foster made a dramatic emergency intervention when she said the "economic and constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom must not be compromised in any way".
Ms Davidson this morning echoed her comments as she said the country must not “be divided by different deals for different home nations”.
“While I recognise the complexity of the current negotiations, no government of the Conservative and Unionist party should countenance any deal that compromises the political, economic or constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom,” she said.
“All sides agree there should be no return to the borders of the past between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Similarly, jeopardising the UK’s own internal market is in no-one’s interest.
“If regulatory alignment in a number of specific areas is the requirement for a frictionless border, then the Prime Minister should conclude this must be on a UK-wide basis.”
Her stance suggests Mrs May will struggle to get Tory MPs in Scotland to vote for any Brexit deal that gives the nations different regulatory frameworks.
It comes after Nicola Sturgeon demanded any separate Brexit deal for Northern Ireland be mirrored in Scotland. The First Minister also raised the spectre of a fresh independence drive otherwise.
This morning she made a direct appeal to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to help keep the UK in the single market and customs union.
Mrs May will travel back to Brussels for further Brexit talks this week. she is expected to be locked in talks with senior ministers and DUP bosses today.