Nicola Sturgeon calls for ‘urgent and meaningful’ involvement in Brexit talks

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Nicola Sturgeon has demanded “urgent and meaningful” discussion with the devolved administrations on the direction of the Brexit negotiations.

Scotland’s First Minister has written to Theresa May to say the Scottish Government must be able to influence the exit objectives ahead of the UK Government cabinet sub-committee on the EU exit negotiations.

Ms Sturgeon reminded the Prime Minister of a commitment given in 2016 for the “full involvement” of the devolved nations.

The letter follows the leak of a UK Government briefing which warned Brexit would hit economic growth and reports that a customs union with the EU has been ruled out.

The Scottish Government last month published its own analysis predicting that a so-called hard Brexit would leave Scotland’s economy £12.7 billion a year worse off.

In the letter, Ms Sturgeon repeated her view that Scotland and the whole of the UK should remain in the single market and customs union.

She said: “The people of Scotland voted decisively to remain within the European Union, and it is the role of the Scottish Government to make sure that their interests are protected.

“It cannot be right that decisions on the future relationship with the EU are being taken without due regard for consultation across the four governments of the UK in direct contradiction to the terms of reference of the Joint Ministerial Committee (EU Negotiations).

“Those terms of reference were to ensure a space for reaching agreement on a UK approach to, and objectives for, Article 50 negotiations; and provide oversight of negotiations with the EU, to ensure, as far as possible, that outcomes agreed by all four governments are secured from these negotiations.

“To date the discussions in JMC (EN) have fallen far short of that ambition and of your own commitment when we met in July 2016 to ‘full involvement’.

“I expect that following the meeting of your Cabinet sub-committee there will remain full scope for the Scottish Government, and other devolved administrations, to influence the shape of the UK approach and objectives for negotiations.

“In light of the timetable ahead of the European Council on March 22 2018, there must be urgent and meaningful discussion between us to try to agree a UK position and therefore enable our European partners to respond.”

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