Scotland

Nicola Sturgeon says May's Brexit plan offers 'more detail but no progress'

Nicola Sturgeon
Image caption Nicola Sturgeon said the plan was no progress

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Theresa May's Brexit speech offered more detail but no progress.

She said it was a wish-list plan that had already largely been rejected by the EU.

Ms Sturgeon said even if it were achieved it would be nowhere near as good as being in single market.

Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson praised Mrs May's "pragmatic plan" for the next round of Brexit talks.

In her speech, Mrs May warned that "no-one will get everything they want" out of Brexit negotiations but she is confident a deal can be done.

She said single market access would be "less than it is now" and the UK would have to pay into some EU agencies.

The UK is due to leave the EU on 29 March 2019 but it wants a transition period lasting around two years after to smooth the way for business.

Image caption It was was billed as the PM's third major Brexit speech

Ms Sturgeon said: "She accepted that access to the single market - the world's biggest marketplace and one around eight times bigger than the UK's alone - would be reduced, yet said she would leave the single market and customs union anyway, even though her own government's analysis shows this will cost jobs and cut living standards."

The SNP leader added: "The EU has already rejected the Prime Minister's wish-list approach but even if she can somehow persuade them to adopt everything in this speech, we will still get a worse deal than we have today.

"Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU and it is time for the UK government to take seriously the proposals we have made to keep Scotland and the whole of the UK in the single market and customs union."

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said: "Theresa May's shambolic handling of Brexit has sent the United Kingdom hurtling towards a constitutional crisis with damaging consequences in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

"From failing to protect the devolution settlement to the disgraceful mishandling of Northern Ireland's future, this is a Prime Minister who has endangered the Union by failing to stand up to her own right-wing backbenchers."

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson insisted the PM had "set out a pragmatic, realistic plan which gives us the basis for the next round of negotiations".

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