Tuesday, May 17

I can block UK exit from Europe: Scotland’s First Minister



Nicola Sturgeon has suggested she has a veto over when Britain leaves the European Union, in comments that will infuriate Right-wing ministers in charge of Brexit.

Scotland’s First Minister conceded that she can dictate the timing of a British exit from the EU in an interview on BBC1’s The Andrew Marr Show.

Asked if she had a “veto in her back pocket” about when Britain leaves the EU, she replied: “I think we are in a very strong position. That is a position that I am going to use as well as I can.”

Her comments came after Liam Fox, the new International Trade Secretary, and David Davis, the new Brexit Secretary, said they wanted Britain to start formal exit talks by the end of this year.

On Friday, Theresa May indicated that Brexit could be delayed as she said she would not start the formal process for leaving the EU until there is a “UK approach” backed by Scotland.

In a sign that the new Prime Minister was committed to keeping the Union intact, Mrs May said she would not trigger Article 50 – the formal process for withdrawing from the EU – until all the devolved nations in the country agree.

Her comments could prompt anger among EU leaders, who want Mrs May to invoke Article 50 immediately.

Speaking in Edinburgh, Mrs May said: “I have already said that I won’t be triggering Article 50 until I think that we have a UK approach and objectives for negotiations.

“I think it is important that we establish that before we trigger Article 50.”

Key questions | Scotland and Brexit

Does Scotland want Britain to leave the EU?

No. Northern Ireland and Scotland are the UK’s most pro-EU regions with almost 62% of people in Scotland and 55% in Northern Ireland voting to remain.

Will Brexit lead to Scotland leaving the UK?

It has certainly raised new questions about independence in Scotland and could force Scots to consider whether they want to be in the British union or the European union.

What has pro-Remain Nicola Sturgeon said about it?

Nicola Sturgeon said a second independence referendum is “highly likely” in the next two-and-a-half years following UK’s vote to leave the EU. At a press conference at Bute House, her official residence in Edinburgh, where she was flanked by the Saltire and the EU flag, she said that it was “democratically unacceptable” for Scotland to be taken out of the EU against its will.

Every part of the country voted to remain, and she said her government would now begin preparing legislation to enable another independence vote if the Scottish Parliament decided it was appropriate.

The last battle to keep Scotland in the union was fought less than two years ago. Supporters of independence were defeated, winning 45pc of the vote.

What does the Scottish arm of Vote Leave say?

They say Brexit will mean Scottish voters will have far more freedom to control fisheries, farming and health policy.