Scotland looking for ‘more give’ from UK over Brexit

Uk Negotiations on Scotland's place in Europe Minister Michael Russell 
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Contributed.
Uk Negotiations on Scotland's place in Europe Minister Michael Russell First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Contributed.
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The Scottish Government has already offered a “very substantial compromise” with its proposals for a post-Brexit deal, the minister responsible for Scotland’s negotiations has said.

Michael Russell indicated that the SNP administration would be prepared to negotiate further, but it must first see some “give” from the UK Government.

Scottish ministers published plans at the end of last year outlining proposals to protect Scotland’s place in Europe, including an option for the country to remain in the European single market even if the rest of the UK leaves it.

Newspaper reports at the weekend suggested Prime Minister Theresa May would use a speech on Tuesday to signal a so-called “hard Brexit”, taking the whole of the UK out of the single market.

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UK and Scottish ministers are due to meet on Thursday at the Joint Ministerial Committee for further Brexit talks.

“We’ve offered a very substantial compromise as it is, and I’ve made it clear that we want to negotiate and discuss on the basis of the paper that we have put forward,” Mr Russell told BBC Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme.

“But of course negotiation is about give and take...we need to see some indication of give rather than all take from the UK Government.”

Asked if a second independence referendum will be inevitable if Mrs May announces a hard Brexit in her speech, Mr Russell said: “No, but I think it certainly does focus the mind very substantially.

“I still hope that there will be a discussion on Thursday and that we will move forward with the paper that we have produced to negotiate.”

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Meanwhile, writing in her first column for the Daily Record newspaper, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “The PM has pledged to give our plan her full consideration, and I intend to hold her to that.”

She added: “The current crop of Westminster Tories now seem to think they can do whatever they want to Scotland and people here will just sit back and accept it - they may be about to find out just how wrong they are about that.”