Nicola Sturgeon urges Theresa May to drop single market exit plans having ‘failed’ to win support
Nicola Sturgeon has written to Theresa May to say the UK Government no longer has the mandate to take Britain out of the EU single market.
The Scottish First Minister said the Prime Minister must begin a “more inclusive process” in talks with Brussels, and set out demands including the reconvening of the Joint Ministerial Committee, and the formation of a “cross-party advisory group” from across the UK.
Ms Sturgeon also repeated her call for the devolved governments to be given a seat at the negotiating table with Brussels, and for the UK to unilaterally grant the right for EU nationals to stay after Britain leaves the bloc.
“Removing the UK, and Scotland in particular, from the European Single Market and Customs Union, will cause severe long-term economic damage, hitting jobs, growth and living standards,” she wrote.
“It is therefore essential that membership of the European Single Market, and participation in the EU Customs Union is protected.
“During the election you sought a mandate for your proposals to leave the European Single Market.
“This proposal failed to garner support, it is now clear that a new proposal is needed urgently to protect the economy and bring people together.
Read the full letter below:
Former prime minister David Cameron and Sir John Major have also called for a cross-party approach, as has Tory grandee Ken Clarke.
Mr Clarke, a vocally pro-European backbencher, said the splits within the Tories and Labour meant it was “self-evident” that a broader consensus would have to be reached.
"The public are very disillusioned with knockabout party politics after low level debates in the referendum and the general election," he told Radio 4's Today programme.
“I think we’d restore confidence in politics if we could show that this parliament can at least function in presenting a view in the national interest which could command a majority on a cross-party basis.”
Ms Sturgeon’s Brexit demands largely echo those of Wales’ First Minister Carwyn Jones, who wrote to the Prime Minister yesterday, saying her government "has no mandate for the sort of ‘hard Brexit’ which you have championed".
He added: “In the longer term we believe that the machinery for inter-governmental working between the four administrations needs to be overhauled if we are to be able to meet the challenges of the coming years”.
The SNP leader also reiterated her vow to “consider carefully” the wishes of Scottish voters, after the party lost 21 seats in Scotland last week - a result some put down to a backlash against her party's plans for a second referendum on independence.
However, Ms Sturgeon then took to Twitter to deny “nonsense” reports that plans to hold a fresh vote following Brexit talks had been derailed.