Sturgeon demands changes to European Union exit bill

Lloyd Doyle
November 15, 2017

Nicola Sturgeon has expressed greater optimism that the Scottish and United Kingdom governments can strike a deal on Brexit after a "cordial" meeting with Theresa May.

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says the United Kingdom government had to make changes to its European Union withdrawal bill before her devolved government in Edinburgh would agree to back it, but said she was hopeful progress could be made.

Nicola Sturgeon and Theresa May are meeting for the first time in over six months as in a showdown over Brexit.

"I made clear that the Scottish Government wants to find agreement on the Withdrawal Bill".

A spokeswoman for the Scottish government said Ms Sturgeon would be "seeking clarity" on Brexit and the Withdrawal Bill, as well as other topics.

But she said they now had a "better understanding of each others' positions" and expressed hope that agreement will be reached on some points within the next few weeks.

His decision to work for the channel, branded a Kremlin mouthpiece, was quickly criticised by his successor Nicola Sturgeon, who said she had not been asked about the arrangement and would have advised against it if she had been.

The first minister had told the Guardian just before June's snap general election that she had found that meeting tense and frustrating.

As well as Brexit, Ms Sturgeon is expected to press her government's economic priorities ahead of Chancellor Philip Hammond's autumn budget on 22 November. The Scottish Tories have been making overtures towards Sturgeon's ministers, in a bid to help broker a deal. We oppose Brexit but we understand withdrawal legislation is necessary, so we want to find agreement.

A No 10 spokesman said the leaders discussed the progress the two governments had made on agreeing UK-wide common frameworks, where powers and regulations are shared by the United Kingdom and devolved governments.

Sturgeon said she had stressed again to May the Scottish government still needed to see significant concessions in the withdrawal bill, to guarantee that Holyrood will be given substantial new powers after the United Kingdom leaves the EU.

A spokesman for Mrs May added: "The Prime Minister encouraged the Scottish Government to continue to work with counterparts to secure the best outcome for the people of Scotland and the whole of the United Kingdom".

The pair also discussed the recent wave of allegations of improper conduct and sexual harassment in politics north and south of the border, both agreeing such behaviour was "completely unacceptable", said Number 10.

The First Minister characterised the 45 minutes of talks as "constructive and cordial", but added: "I made very clear, as the Scottish Government has done consistently, that the Withdrawal Bill as it stands would not be acceptable and we would not be able to recommend approval of that".

The first minister said Sheppard's stance was consistent with her government's policy, but she was again more conciliatory.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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