Brexit Will Enhance Scotland's Status, Insists Theresa May

26 September 2016, 13:13 | Updated: 26 September 2016, 13:54

Scotland's status will be enhanced rather than diminished by the vote to leave the EU, Theresa May has said.

Writing in Holyrood magazine ahead of the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, the Prime Minister said Brexit offers "an exciting chance to forge a new role in the world'', with Scotland playing a key part.

Mrs May said the focus of the conference would be on "getting a better deal for the UK abroad'' in exiting the European Union (EU).

She said: "As I told the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, when I met her at Bute House - my first visit outside London as Prime Minister, on only my second full day in the job - we will engage fully with and are willing to listen to options from the Scottish Government as we formulate our negotiating position for leaving the EU. There should be no doubt: we will get a deal that works for us all.

"As we strike that deal, we have an exciting chance to forge a new role in the world. Scotland's status will not be diminished by that; it will be enhanced.

"We will go out into the world with the aim of being a leader in global free trade, one that makes the most of our advantages, from the financial expertise of Edinburgh to the shipbuilding prowess of the Clyde and the globally renowned food and drink produce of Scotland's countryside.''

With 62% of Scots voting to remain in the EU in June's referendum, Ms Sturgeon has pledged to ''explore all options'' to protect Scotland's interests in Europe and said another referendum on Scottish independence is ''highly likely''.

But Mrs May argued that the Union with the rest of the UK is the one that matters most to Scotland's future.

She said: "The fall in oil prices demonstrates just how crucial that relationship is financially: Scotland was able to weather that downturn because of the UK's broad shoulders.

"Tax revenues from the North Sea collapsed, but funding for Scottish public services remained unscathed. That is how our union works: we share each other's successes when times are good, and shoulder each other's burdens when times are tough.

"There is only one party north of the border which truly understands that and is committed to preserving it: the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party.''