Scotland politics

Scotland could be at heart of Brexit negotiations, says Scottish secretary

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Media caption'No one size fits all' in UK's Brexit talks

Scottish Secretary David Mundell believed new prime minister Theresa May would want Scotland to be "at the heart" of negotiations over Brexit.

He said Mrs May planned to have "very early engagement" with Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

The SNP leader said she would "wait and see" how future discussions unfolded.

However, she stressed that her message to the new PM was to respect the "differing views of Scotland" on EU membership.

Speaking to the BBC after David Cameron left Downing Street, Mr Mundell said: "Obviously very early after becoming PM she will engage with Nicola Sturgeon the First Minister of Scotland and I hope she will have a continuing and ongoing engagement particularly around discussions with the European Union.

"We want to place Scotland, the Scottish government, right at the heart of those negotiations and I think that Theresa in her first days in office will want to make sure that the processes are set in place to allow that to happen."

Mr Cameron tendered his resignation as PM and leader of the Conservative Party after the UK voted for Brexit by 52% to 48%.

In Scotland people voted by 62% to 38% for Britain to retain membership.

The word unionist is very important to me - it means we believe in the union, the precious, precious bond between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland."

Theresa May, British Prime Minister

Responding to Mr Mundell's suggestion that the Scottish government could play a key role, Ms Sturgeon said: "Let's wait and see how these discussions unfold. I want us to be centrally involved.

"But I think it is an important point that I have got to stress here is, I don't want Scotland to Brexit, I don't want Scotland to leave the European Union because that's not what Scotland voted for.

"My priority is to find ways of protecting Scotland's place in Europe.

"And the UK negotiations, the UK discussions don't just have to have Scotland involved in that but have to have us involved in a way that allows us to get all of the options on the table and properly discussed.

"So that is what I will be seeking to achieve and I hope the new PM is open to that."

'I believe in the Union'

Mrs May officially took on the post of PM after meeting the Queen at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday.

In her first address outside 10 Downing Street, she said: "David Cameron has led a one nation government and it is in that spirit that I also plan to lead.

"Not everybody knows this, but the full title of my party is the Conservative and Unionist Party. And that word unionist is very important to me - it means we believe in the union, the precious, precious bond between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. "

She added: "But it means something else which is just as important, it means we believe in a union not just between the nations of the UK but between all of our citizens, every one of us - whoever we are, and wherever we are from."

Meanwhile, Westminster's Scottish affairs committee has announced an inquiry into Scotland's future relationship with the EU following the Brexit vote.

It will consider what options exist for Scotland to stay a member of the EU.

Committee members will scrutinise how Brexit will affect Scottish devolution and Scotland's funding settlement.

The inquiry will also examine;

  • what role Scotland will have in the process of the UK withdrawing from the EU
  • how Scottish interests will be represented in negotiations surrounding this
  • and what future relationship with the EU would be best for Scotland.

Committee chairman, SNP MP Pete Wishart, said: "In the referendum on the UK's membership of the EU, 62% of Scotland's population voted to remain. We have launched this inquiry to look at what options are available to Scotland to continue to secure a relationship with the EU including examining whether Scotland can continue its membership of the EU."

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