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EU Referendum

Has Theresa May given Nicola Sturgeon a veto over Brexit? Prime Minister promises not to trigger Article 50 until the Scots have signed up

  • New Prime Minister makes Edinburgh first official trip of premiership
  • Signals importance she is placing on stopping Scotland splitting from UK
  • Sturgeon says she looks forward to ‘constructive’ relationship with May

Britain’s departure from the European Union could be delayed to appease Scotland, Theresa May indicated yesterday.

Speaking after talks with Nicola Sturgeon in Edinburgh, the Prime Minister said she would not trigger the formal exit process until she had agreed a ‘UK approach’ with leaders in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Mrs May’s visit to Scotland, just 48 hours into her premiership, was designed to underline her determination to keep the union together.

Prime Minister Theresa May meets with Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in Bute House in Edinburgh

Theresa May and Nicola Sturgeon  met for the first time since entering No 10 today, travelling to Edinburgh for talks at Bute House Prime Minister Theresa May (left) is greeted by Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at Bute House in Edinburgh

Mrs May placed the Union at the heart of her first address to the nation on Wednesday night and strengthening the bonds in the United Kingdom was on the agenda today 

She warned Miss Sturgeon she would not sanction a second referendum on Scottish independence.

But she struck a conciliatory tone on Europe, saying she wanted to discuss the terms of Britain’s exit with Scotland’s first minister before starting formal negotiations with Brussels.

Downing Street last night denied Mrs May had handed a veto to Miss Sturgeon, who wants to keep Scotland in the EU.

‘No region of the UK should be allowed to hold the rest of the country to ransom,’ he said.

EU leaders, and some Tory MPs, are pressing Mrs May to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty immediately. This is the formal process for leaving the EU, which fires the starting gun on two years of negotiations.

But Mrs May has said she may not act on the issue until next year. Speaking after talks with Miss Sturgeon yesterday, she said: ‘I’ve already said that I won’t be triggering Article 50 until I think that we have a UK approach and objectives.

Theresa May dismisses second referendum on Scottish independence

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Ms Sturgeon greeted Mrs May at Bute House today as the new Prime Minister arrived on her first official trip since entering No 10  

‘It is important that we establish that before we trigger Article 50.’

Asked if Scotland could have a different relationship with the EU than the rest of the UK, Mrs May said: ‘I want to get the best possible deal for the United Kingdom out of our negotiations for the UK leaving the EU, but I’m willing to listen to options.

‘I’ve been very clear with the first minister today that I want the Scottish government to be fully engaged in our discussions and our considerations, and I will listen to any options that they bring forward.’

Miss Sturgeon welcomed her comments, saying: ‘I was very pleased that Theresa May said that she was absolutely willing to consider any options that the Scottish government now bring forward to secure Scotland’s relationship with the European Union, and that the process that now takes shape by the UK government will be open and flexible and that the Scottish government will be fully involved in that.’

A Whitehall source last night insisted Scotland would not be allowed to block Brexit, saying Mrs May’s comments had been ‘over-interpreted’.

The source added: ‘The Prime Minister is talking, as she has before, about having a UK approach. She is willing to listen to options, but that does not in any way amount to a veto.’

The pair were due to discuss the Brexit result and Mrs May has placed protecting the union at the heart of her mission as Prime Minister 

Theresa May arrives in Edinburgh to meet Nicola Sturgeon

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Mrs May met Miss Sturgeon in Bute House, where Britain’s two most powerful women posed for photographs on the doorstep – prompting the first minister to post a message on Twitter, saying: ‘Politics aside – I hope girls everywhere look at this photograph and believe nothing should be off limits for them.’

Afterwards, Mrs May told the Daily Mail: ‘I don’t see the need for a second independence referendum. The Scottish people voted in a referendum two years ago. They gave a very clear message.

‘The Scottish government and the UK Government agreed to abide by the decision of the people. I don’t there should be a second independence referendum.’

Miss Sturgeon has warned she could demand a second referendum in the wake of the EU referendum, in which a majority of Scots voted to stay in the EU.

A Downing Street spokesman last night said: ‘The Prime Minister has been very clear that it will take time for the UK government to agree its position for the negotiations. This position has not changed. As part of this, we will of course want to engage fully with the Scottish government and listen to their views.’

Prime Minister Theresa May leaves at Bute House in Edinburgh

Members of the public take pictures from a window as Prime Minister Theresa May

Mrs May drew admiring looks from onlookers as she left Bute House this afternoon following her talks with Ms Sturgeon over Brexit and the Union

The Prime Minister confirmed she had discussed the timescale for triggering Article 50 with Ms Sturgeon. 'Of course we discussed this,' she said.

The Prime Minister confirmed she had discussed the timescale for triggering Article 50 with Ms Sturgeon. ‘Of course we discussed this,’ she said.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3690780/Theresa-travels-Edinburgh-meeting-PM-Nicola-Sturgeon-bids-union-together.html

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