New Brexit Proposals 'Urgently Needed', Nicola Sturgeon Tells Theresa May

14 June 2017, 11:22

The First Minister

Nicola Sturgeon has told the Prime Minister that new Brexit proposals are "urgently needed'' with less than a week to go until talks with the European Union (EU) begin.

In a letter sent to Downing Street on Tuesday, the First Minister repeated her calls for the UK Government to adopt a "much more inclusive process'' following the General Election.

She said people are "becoming increasingly worried about the confusion surrounding the UK's position'', with Theresa May yet to appoint a negotiating team with a "stable mandate''.

Ms Sturgeon wants a cross-party approach, with involvement from the devolved nations, centred on maintaining European single market membership.

She suggested the Scottish Government's own document, produced before the election, could be used as a "blueprint'' for such an approach.

In the letter, she states: "During the election you sought a mandate for your proposals to leave the European single market.

"That proposal failed to garner support, it is now clear that a new proposal is urgently needed to protect the economy and bring people together.

"The proposals contained in the Scottish Government document, 'Scotland's Place in Europe', provide a blueprint for this approach.

"Adopting these proposals for the UK as a whole will bring clarity, in place of the current confusion, and provide a coherent base for the UK's future relationship with the EU.''

Ms Sturgeon's party won 35 seats in last week's election, down 21 on the 56 MPs it returned in 2015.

However, with Mrs May failing to win a majority for the Conservatives, the SNP leader used a trip to London on Monday to call for a new Brexit strategy.

In her letter to the Prime Minister, she once again called for a cross-party advisory group to be set up, including representatives from the devolved governments, and for the Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) of EU Negotiations to be reconvened.

The devolved nations must be represented in the Brexit negotiating team, she added.

Previous demands for a seat at the table and a call for a special deal to keep Scotland in the single market were rejected by the UK Government, prompting Ms Sturgeon to call for a second independence referendum.

The First Minister has admitted the issue of another independence ballot was a factor in the election and stated the party will reflect on its plans amid calls for it to be taken off the table.

She has insisted she will not be "dictated to by demands for quick headlines'' in her decision-making, adding she will instead focus on trying to influence Brexit talks.

"I have said that I will reflect on the election result in Scotland, listen to voters and consider carefully the best way forward for Scotland,'' she wrote in her letter.

"I hope that the UK Government, too, will reflect on what the election results mean for the importance of finding an outcome from Brexit that meets the needs and aspirations of all the people and nations of the UK.''

Ms Sturgeon's letter follows interventions from across the political spectrum, including her Welsh counterpart Carwyn Jones and former PM David Cameron.

Mr Jones wrote to Mrs May calling for the JMC to meet to establish a "broad-based consensus'' on Brexit while Mr Cameron has said the Prime Minister will have to change her approach following the election.

Meanwhile, talks are continuing between the Tories and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

Mrs May needs the votes of the 10 DUP MPs to prop up her minority administration.