SNP: ‘Distracted’ UK Government jeopardising Brexit negotiations

SNP Europe spokesman Stephen Gethins said Theresa May must 'get a grip' of her party. Picture: George Mcluskie
SNP Europe spokesman Stephen Gethins said Theresa May must 'get a grip' of her party. Picture: George Mcluskie
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Splits in the Conservative party are damaging the UK’s Brexit negotiations and could have a negative impact on the economy, a senior SNP MP has warned.

Stephen Gethins, SNP spokesman for European affairs, said it was “staggering” that as the second round of Brexit talks began, focus remained on senior ministers briefing against each other.

Theresa May’s position as Prime Minister was severely damaged last month when she lost her overall majority following a snap general election.

Her administration now faces a difficult task in passing the relevant legislation required to exit the EU, as well as managing a parliamentary party left reeling by the election result.

“It is staggering that on the day the Brexit Secretary begins the second round of negotiations with the EU the increasingly distracted and divided Downing Street is briefing on internal Tory squabbles and leaks, rather than the key issues which clouded in uncertainty for over a year,” Gethins, MP for North East Fife, said today.

“Theresa May must get a grip and she must do so quickly.”

He added: “Our EU neighbours have approached negotiations with a clear position, whilst the UK government has stumbled into the room unprepared and with confrontational rhetoric rather than constructive policy. The UK government’s Brexit negotiating position has as many holes in it as the Tory government itself following a week of further cabinet splits and leaks.

“It is important now more than ever that the devolved administrations are not left to the sidelines as the UK government accelerates towards the cliff-edge. The Scottish Government and the other devolved governments must have a seat at the table in order to protect the economy, jobs and businesses.”

Last week, Nicola Sturgeon and her Welsh counterpart Carwyn Jones issued a joint statement saying they would withhold consent from the Repeal Bill in its current form, branding it a “naked power grab”.

READ MORE: Westminster and Holyrood head for constitutional crisis over Brexit Bill