SNP puts pressure on UK government to reveal Brexit plan

Prime Minister Theresa May insists Brexit means Brexit but there are few details of formal exit proceedings. Photograph: AP/Frank Augstein

Prime Minister Theresa May insists Brexit means Brexit but there are few details of formal exit proceedings. Photograph: AP/Frank Augstein

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The UK government has come under pressure from SNP MPs at Westminster to set out its plan for Brexit.

Nationalist MPs say they will force ministers to reveal details of their negotiating strategy unless they explain what Brexit will mean.

Stephen Gethins, the SNP’s Europe spokesman at Westminster, said unless the government offers details of the deal it will seek, the party will ask the Speaker of the Commons to grant an urgent question on Brexit when MPs return on 5 September. If the request is granted by John Bercow, Brexit secretary David Davis could have to answer questions from MPs.

At a gathering of EU nationals last week, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it “beggars belief” that there was little clarity about the approach being taken by the UK Government eight weeks after the EU referendum. She also reiterated her threat to call a second referendum on Scottish independence.

Seeking to highlight the gulf between Leave and Remain supporters in the Cabinet and on the Tory benches, Gethins called on Conservatives to “put their differences over the EU aside and outline their vision for Brexit”.

He told Scotland on Sunday: “It’s almost 60 days since the referendum result was announced and we are none the wiser as to what the UK Government’s Brexit plan is.”

Theresa May began her premiership insisting that “Brexit means Brexit”.There has been speculation that the start of formal exit proceedings could be pushed back into 2017 to avoid disrupting elections in France and Germany. Davis is known to favour a loose relationship with the EU, involving the UK leaving the single market and negotiating a free trade deal similar to the one being ratified with Canada.

Last night a spokesperson for the Department for Exiting the European Union said: “We have already put the machinery of government behind getting the best deal from Brexit with a new dedicated department. The new Cabinet Committee on Brexit has met and work is under way to prepare for those negotiations.

“We will ensure that Scottish interests are fully represented. Ministers have been up in Scotland listening to views there from interested parties and we will give the Scottish Government every opportunity to have their say and make suggestions.”

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