Brexit: Scottish and UK governments ‘nowhere near’ agreement

Brexit minister Mike Russell. Picture: Craig Borland
Brexit minister Mike Russell. Picture: Craig Borland
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Scotland’s Brexit Minister has said his administration is not “anywhere close” to a joint position with the UK Government on leaving the European Union.

Mike Russell’s comments came as Prime Minister Theresa May prepared to hold Brexit talks with leaders from across the UK in Cardiff.

Mr Russell has also accused Mrs May of failing to involve the devolved administrations in decisions.

The Prime Minister made it clear ahead of the meeting that the devolved administrations would not be given a decisive role in the UK’s divorce from the European Union.

She said she hoped the meeting would be constructive but warned they would “not agree on everything” and highlighted how the Supreme Court ruling on triggering Article 50 had set out “beyond doubt” that relations with Brussels would be determined by the UK Government.

Mr Russell said: “The decisions that are being made are being made without reference to the devolved nations.”

He said the “obsession” with immigration was “driving the UK Government into a very dangerous place” as he set out demands for Scotland to remain within the single market and its freedom of movement rules.

Scotland’s First Minister also warned Mrs May that she must take proposals from the devolved administrations seriously.

Nicola Sturgeon said: “Time is running out for the Prime Minister to demonstrate that she is going to uphold the commitment she made to me shortly after taking office that Scotland will be fully involved in discussions to develop an agreed UK approach and listen to alternative proposals for Scotland.”

A spokesman for the Welsh Government said differences between Downing Street and First Minister Carwyn Jones were “not irreconcilable”.

Ahead of the meeting, Mrs May said: “The United Kingdom voted to leave the EU, and the UK Government has a responsibility to deliver on that mandate and secure the right deal for the whole of the UK.

“We all have a part to play in providing certainty and leadership so that together we can make a success of the opportunities ahead.”

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