Theresa May and Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, have had their first meeting today (15 July 2016) since Ms May’s appointment as Prime Minister.
Nicola Sturgeon described her discussions with the Prime Minster as “constructive and very good” and stated:
“The Prime Minister and I have big political disagreements but we are both women who approach business in a similar way, so I think we can have a good working relationship not withstanding those political differences.
I was very pleased that Theresa May said that she was absolutely willing to consider any options that the Scottish Government now brings forward to secure Scotland’s relationship with the European Union. The process that is now taken forward by the UK Government will be open and flexible and the Scottish Government will be fully involved in that.
These negotiations have yet to take shape and the UK Government don’t yet know exactly how they will proceed from here, but there is an agreement that Scottish Government officials will be very closely involved in discussions to give shape to this process and will be involved in that process. Crucially, and this is the most important point from my point of view, is that that process will be open to considering options that the Scottish Government brings forward.”
First Minister Sturgeon added:
“I’ve said previously that if we want to protect our relationship with the European Union then Scotland may have to consider becoming an independent member. If it proves not to be possible to fully protect Scotland’s interests through the UK process then the Prime Minister knows that a second independence referendum is of course on the table.
However, I’ve also been consistently clear that I want to examine all options for protecting Scotland’s position, protecting our interests, protecting our relationship with the EU. That’s why I’ve assembled a team of experts that will advise me on the options that might exist, and it was very important today to get a commitment from the Prime Minister to listen to options that the Scottish Government will bring forward.”
In a press conference after the talks, Prime Minister May said:
“I’ve just had an excellent meeting with the First Minister – a very positive and constructive meeting.
I’m willing to listen to options and I’ve been very clear with the first minister today that I want the Scottish government to be fully engaged in our discussions.
I have already said that I won’t be triggering Article 50 until I think that we have a UK approach and objectives for negotiations – I think it is important that we establish that before we trigger Article 50.”