PM will look ‘seriously’ at Nicola Sturgeon’s Brexit plan

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will publish her 'Scotland's Place in Europe' paper on Tuesday
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will publish her 'Scotland's Place in Europe' paper on Tuesday
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Theresa May has told Scotland’s First Minister she will look “very seriously” at proposals aimed at keeping Scotland in the European single market.

The Prime Minister gave the assurance in a phone call on Monday, the day before Nicola Sturgeon is due to publish her “Scotland’s place in Europe” paper.

It will propose that Britain should remain in the free trade bloc even though the UK has voted for Brexit.

The paper will also set out how Scotland could remain in the single market without the rest of the UK, and propose a substantial transfer of new powers to Holyrood after the country leaves the European Union.

Mrs May told the House of Commons: “I took a call from the First Minister this morning, when I assured her that we will look very seriously at the proposals that the Scottish Government is bringing forward.

“I welcome the fact that they have been looking at their priorities. We’ve been encouraging all the devolved administrations to look at their priorities so that they can be taken into account in the UK negotiations on leaving the European Union.”

In June’s EU referendum, 62 per cent of Scots backed remain, with 38 per cent voting for leave.

The Scottish Government has been looking at its options around Brexit, with Ms Sturgeon setting up a standing council of experts for advice.

Mrs May has previously said she is “willing to listen to options” brought forward by the SNP administration, but earlier this month Chancellor Philip Hammond ruled out a special deal for Scotland.

The Prime Minister said the Joint Ministerial Committee (EU Negotiations), which brings together the national and devolved administrations to discuss Brexit, will meet again next month.

“There is already a structure in place that enables us to discuss these with the devolved authorities,” she said.

“The JMC (EN) will be meeting in early January. It’s been meeting regularly with the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU and there will be a further session of JMC plenary in January.

“Normally these only meet once a year, if then, but we are increasing the number of meetings of the JMC plenary precisely so we can engage with the devolved administrations on these issues.”

A spokesman for the First Minister said: “We welcome the commitment from the Prime Minister to look carefully at the proposals we bring forward.

“These are the first serious proposals responding to Brexit to be published by any administration in the UK, and the way in which the UK Government responds will tell us much about whether or not the UK is indeed the partnership of equals they told us it was before the independence referendum.”