Scotland does NOT have a veto over when to leave the EU, Nicola Sturgeon’s office admits as Theresa May tells her Brexit is happening whether she likes it or not

  • Sturgeon suggested Theresa May had given her a veto over Brexit timing
  • Theresa May made visit to Edinburgh her first official trip as Prime Minister 
  • Promised not to trigger Article 50 until ‘UK approach’ had been agreed 
  • Sturgeon said this puts Scotland in a ‘very, very strong position’ 
  • SNP First Minister vows to ‘use this position as well as I can’
  • But No 10 makes clear May will have final say over when Britain leaves EU 
  • Now Sturgeon’s spokesperson admits: ‘We don’t have a veto over Brexit’  

Nicola Sturgeon’s office has admitted Scotland does not have a veto on Britain’s Brexit negotiations after she appeared to suggest Theresa May had given her a say over when to trigger Article 50.

The new Prime Minister told Scotland’s First Minister on Friday she would not trigger the formal process for leaving the EU until she had agreed a ‘UK approach’.

Asked whether this meant Scotland had been given a veto, Ms Sturgeon told the BBC yesterday that it ‘certainly appeared to be an interpretation that some put on the Prime Minister’s remarks’ and said they had put Scotland in a ‘very, very strong position’ that she would ‘use as well as I can’.

Today Downing Street then dismissed any suggestion that Mrs May had offered Ms Sturgeon a veto and insisted the Prime Minister would have the final say on when Britain starts the Brexit process.

Ms Sturgeon’s spokesperson admitted tonight: ‘We’re not going around saying we have a veto, because frankly, we don’t.’

Theresa May (pictured meeting First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones in Cardiff today) will move to dismiss suggestions from Nicola Sturgeon that Scotland will have a veto over Brexit negotiations

Nicola Sturgeon (pictured visiting a community centre in Newton Stewart in Dumfries and Galloway today) suggested Theresa May had given a veto over when Britain triggers the formal process of leaving the EU 

Theresa May avoids promising post-Brexit funding to Wales

Ms Sturgeon has pledged to do everything she can to keep Scotland in the EU and has said a second independence referendum is ‘highly likely’ if the UK Government fails to secure an agreement that allows Scotland to stay in the EU.

Her spokesperson said Mrs May was ‘willing to listen to any proposal we bring forward to keeping Scotland’s membership of the EU,’ he said.

The Prime Minister’s spokeswoman clarified that Mrs May had committed to involving the devolved Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish administrations in discussions on Brexit.

But making clear this was not a veto, she said: ‘The point I would make is that the PM has been clear that leaving the EU is what the British people voted for.’

The spokeswoman added that Mrs May’s comments on Friday ‘should not be interpreted that she was suggesting Scotland had some kind of block on this [Brexit negotiations].’

Mrs May visited Wales First Minister Carwyn Jones in Cardiff today to discuss Brexit – her first trip to Cardiff since becoming Prime Minister.

The new Prime Minister will embark on her first foreign trip on Wednesday to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel – a key meeting ahead of Brexit negotiations

Today she opened a key debate on renewing Britain’s nuclear deterrent in Parliament.

She exploited Labour divisions over Trident as she urged MPs not to take the ‘gamble’ of getting rid of the at-sea deterrent at a time of ‘increased’ threats to Britain’s national security.

Theresa May, pictured visiting First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones in Cardiff today, told Nicola Sturgeon on Friday she would not start the Brexit process until she had agreed a 'UK approach' with leaders in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (pictured visiting a community centre in Newton Stewart in Dumfries and Gallowaytoday) said Theresa May had put Scotland in 'a very, very strong position' when it comes to triggering Article 50, which sets a two-year time limit on negotiations to leave

Ms Sturgeon’s suggestion that she will have a veto over the timing of Brexit infuriated Tory Eurosceptics, who warned on Friday that no region of the UK should be allowed to ‘hold the rest of the country to ransom’ by delaying the negotiations.

Scotland was one of only three major regions to vote to stay in the EU, with six in ten Scots backing Remain. Only London and Northern Ireland were the other regions backing EU membership.

David Davis, the newly-appointed Brexit Secretary, said that despite a majority of Scots voting for Remain, ‘they can’t have a veto because there are 17.5 million people who have given us a mandate’.

The Prime Minister pictured heading back to London this evening after her visit to Wales earlier today

The First Minister also insisted that the EU’s attitude to Scotland’s place in Europe has softened since June’s referendum result, and the option of Scotland staying in while the rest of the UK ‘Brexits’ should not be ruled out.

Mrs May’s visit to Bute House, the First Minister’s official residence, aimed to show her commitment to preserving the United Kingdom following the UK’s decision to leave the EU.

Tory MP Steve Baker, chairman of the group Conservatives for Britain, warned against allowing the SNP to delay Brexit.

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

 Scotland is in a ‘very, very strong position’ in Brexit argument

Nicola Sturgeon tweeted a picture of her greeting Theresa May at Bute House in Edinburgh on Friday along with the words: 'I hope girls everywhere look at this photograph and believe nothing should be off limits for them' 

May dismisses second referendum on Scottish independence

Fellow Tory backbencher Bernard Jenkin was also worried about Scotland slowing Brexit negotiations.

The former Andrea Leadsom supporter said the new PM had his ‘unqualified support’ but added ‘I do believe the pressure will mount for us to move far more quickly on this.’

The First Minister has said a second referendum on Scottish independence is now highly likely because voters north of the border rejected Brexit in the June 23 vote.

Speaking after the meeting, the Prime Minister said she will not trigger Article 50 – the formal mechanism for leaving the EU, which starts two years of negotiations – until she thinks ‘we have a UK approach and objectives’.

Ms Sturgeon has set up an expert group to look at the options for protecting Scotland’s place in Europe.

She said it could be possible to find a solution where Scotland remains in the EU and the UK, while the rest of the country leaves the EU – a move Scottish Secretary David Mundell has described as fanciful.

She said this morning: ‘My position is there might be. We’re in uncharted territory, and when you are in uncharted territory with effectively a blank sheet of paper in front of you, then you have the opportunity to try to think things that might have previously been unthinkable and shape the future.

‘I think there are opportunities. The positive outcome of the meeting I had with the Prime Minister on Friday was that she said she was prepared to listen to options the Scottish Government would bring forward to give effect to how Scotland voted and we will certainly bring forward options.’

Her comments contradict remarks by some EU leaders, including Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who have suggested that if the UK leaves, Scotland leaves too.

But the First Minister, who met with key EU figures during a trip to Brussels after the referendum, said Europe’s attitude to Scotland has changed since the 2014 independence referendum.

Asked if the EU may put aside its own rules and act politically to keep Scotland in, she said: ‘I do think that mood is there, and what I encountered in Brussels was a warmth, an openness, a great sympathy to the position that Scotland finds itself in.

‘Things have changed fundamentally.’

Nicola Sturgeon (pictured visiting a community centre in Newton Stewart in Dumfries and Galloway) has suggested she has a veto over when Britain triggers the formal process of leaving the EU

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

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

Theresa May arrives in Edinburgh to meet Nicola Sturgeon

Britain aims to secure free trade deals with 12 countries before leaving the EU as Australia and the US emerge at the front of the queue for deal worth billions to UK economy 

Ministers are aiming to secure ground-breaking free trade deals with 12 countries before Britain leaves the EU in 2019.

Australia wants to strike a deal ‘as soon as possible,’ the country’s prime minister Malcolm Turnbull told Theresa May yesterday.

And Liam Fox, the new International Trade Secretary, is due to fly to the US in the coming days to meet the White House’s most senior trade negotiator in the coming days.

Trade deals with those two countries alone could be worth billions of pounds to the British economy.

Mrs May said the early developments were proof she could ‘make Brexit work for Britain’ and said her talks her Australian counterpart were ‘very encouraging’.

Today Mr Fox revealed he had held ‘very fruitful’ talks with the Canadian trade minister, who said on Friday that her country were keen for Britain to piggyback on the landmark deal it has just signed with the EU even after Brexit takes effect.

He told the Sunday Times he is ‘scoping about a dozen free-trade deals outside the EU to be ready for when we leave’, adding: ‘We can make Britain a beacon for open trade.’

Revealing a number of countries had already been in contact about striking free trade deals, Mr Fox said: ‘We’ve already had a number of countries saying: we’d love to do a trade deal with the world’s fifth-biggest economy without having to deal with the other 27 members of the EU.’

The willingness of leading players from the world’s most powerful economies to open trade talks defies countless warnings from pro-EU campaigners before last months’ referendum that Britain would struggle to strike free trade deals if we cut ties from Brussels.

In a further sign of the potential for Britain to strike lucrative free trade deals once it leaves the EU, a leading US Senator has tabled a bill calling on President Obama to maintain all existing trade deals with Britain and immediately strike a new deal with the UK once it cuts ties with Brussels.

Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas condemned Mr Obama for telling the UK it would be at ‘the back of the queue’ for new trade deals if it left the EU during the campaign.

He now wants the President to commit to retaining the ‘special relationship’ with the UK to help it ‘chart its own path in the world’.

Britain is barred from striking individual trade deals until it officially leaves the EU, which is set to be a lengthy and complicated process that will take up to two years once Article 50 – thee formal process for leaving – is triggered.

But Mr Fox hopes to have agreed the terms of new trade deals with countries beforehand so they could take effect immediately after Britain is no longer an EU member state.

Mrs May appointed Mr Fox, a prominent Brexit campaigner, to drum up new trade deals with non-EU countries around the world as part of her wide-ranging Cabinet reshuffle last week.

However, splits among senior government ministers started to emerge over the weekend over when Britain should trigger Article 50.

David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, wants Britain to start the formal process of leaving the EU this year to enable the UK to start life outside the Brussels club from January 1 2019.

Tonight Boris Johnson (pictured) will launch his own charm offensive with EU politicians when he travels to Brussels for a meeting of foreign ministers
Tonight Boris Johnson (pictured) will launch his own charm offensive with EU politicians when he travels to Brussels for a meeting of foreign ministers

But on Friday Mrs May insisted she would not trigger Article 50 until she had agreed a UK-wide approach to the process for leaving the EU.

This would need the support of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who has pledged to do ‘everything’ she can to stop Scotland departing the EU.

More than six in ten Scots (62 per cent) voted in favour of remaining in the EU, while just 38 per cent backed Brexit.

This morning she suggested Scotland had a veto on the Brexit negotiations, which threatens to delay the process for even longer and could threaten Britain’s ability to strike new free trade deals.

After speaking to Australian PM Mr Turnbull yesterday, Mrs May said: ‘I have been very clear that this Government will make a success of our exit from the European Union.

‘I have been very clear that this government will make a success of our exit from the European Union. It is very encouraging that one of our closest international partners is already seeking to establish just such a deal.’

She added: ‘One of the ways we will do this is by embracing the opportunities to strike free trade deals with our partners across the globe.’

Tonight Boris Johnson will launch his own charm offensive with EU politicians when he travels to Brussels for a meeting of foreign ministers.

Britain’s new Foreign Secretary will tell them the UK is ready to become a ‘truly global’ nation when it officially leaves.

He will meet Federica Mogherini, the high representative of the EU for foreign affairs, tonight, ahead of his meeting with his EU counterparts.

In an interview with the Sunday Express today Mr Johnson said Britain is well-placed to become ‘more active on the world stage than ever before’ and would use its ‘humane, compassionate and principled’ voice to ‘do good around the world’.

He faced a baptism of fire in his first few days in the job, however, after the attack in Nice and the attempted military coup in Turkey.

But he insisted his new team worked ‘coolly and calmly’ to deal with the crises.

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Sturgeon is a one-trick pony who is off her tiny head if she thinks the canny Scots will vote to leave a union which subsidizes them so heavily, and without which they would be broke in months, whilst waiting years to be accepted into the EU amd joining the euro independantly. In any event, apart from spite, why should the Scots prefer rule from Brussels against rule from their own Parliament and light-handed legislation from UK?

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