Philip Hammond rules out separate Brexit plan for Scotland

Chancellor Philip Hammond has effectively ruled out Nicola Sturgeon's plan for Scotland to have a Brexit deal that is separate from the rest of the United Kingdom.

The Chancellor Philip Hammond on his Edinburgh visit
The Chancellor Philip Hammond on his Edinburgh visit

On a visit to Edinburgh for a meeting with the First Minister, Mr Hammond was asked about the chances of a separate Scottish deal on trade and immigration.

“Honestly, I think this is not a realistic prospect,” the Chancellor said.

Sign up to our Politics newsletter

Ms Sturgeon is due to publish options aimed at protecting Scotland’s place in Europe shortly. A key part of her strategy is exploring the possibility of Scotland remaining in the single market even if the UK leaves it.

Picture: TSPL

But Mr Hammond said: “The European Union is clear it will negotiate a deal with the United Kingdom, the United Kingdom is the member state, and I think you only need to think about it for a few moments to realise that a separate immigration deal for any part of the United Kingdom would be impractical.

“I know Scotland, like the rest of the United Kingdom, has important trading relationships with the rest of the European Union but Scotland”s most important trading relationship is with the rest of the United Kingdom. That is four times more important to Scotland than its trading relationship with the rest of the European Union and it is not at all clear how being outside of the UK’s arrangements with the European Union could in any way advantage Scotland.
“I would suggest it would be a disadvantage overall to Scotland. I don’t hear that said often enough in the debate with Scottish colleagues over the European Union. While of course access to European markets is very important access to the rest of the UK market is far more important to Scotland.”

Mr Hammond added: “This is a United Kingdom issue and the will of the people of the United Kingdom was to leave. We are clear we can’t have a different deal or different outcome for different parts of the United Kingdom. We have to work together to as a United Kingdom to get the best possible deal with Europe and then to make our way in the world as a United Kingdom to the benefits of all parts of that United Kingdom.”

DOWNLOAD THE SCOTSMAN APP ON ITUNES OR GOOGLE PLAY

Picture: TSPL