Millennium Post

May rules out special deals for devolved units

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday offered to involve Scotland, the Wales and Northern Ireland in regular formal talks on the Brexit process, but has ruled out allowing special deals for the UK's devolved nations.

But Michael Russell, Scotland's Brexit minister, warned that Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon believes "full independence has got to be on the table". He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme, "Nicola Sturgeon has been absolutely clear that we must keep all options open. It would range from independence and other options would be available too. Of course, independence has to be an option. It would be ridiculous to say it shouldn't be. We have been put in a situation we didn't ask to be in".

Russell said it would be a "strange world" if special access to the single market was secured for bankers, but not for Scotland, which voted overwhelmingly to remain in the European Union on June 23. 

The Downing Street said May would tell the leaders of the devolved administrations concerned about a possible hard Brexit that final decisions about her approach had not yet been taken and "how the UK leaves the EU will not boil down to a binary choice".

May is under pressure from Sturgeon, Welsh counterpart Carwyn Jones and Northern Ireland's leader Arlene Foster and her deputy Martin McGuinness at the meeting in Downing Street.

The devolved administrations are keen to secure continued participation in the single market and want to hold votes on May's approach before she triggers Article 50, formally beginning the Brexit process. She has offered them a "direct line" to Brexit Secretary David Davis for regular talks on the situation.
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