What we can expect when Theresa May meets Nicola Sturgeon
- Author: Leroy Wright Mar 28, 2017,
Mar 28, 2017, 12:41
Scotland is the first stop on May's pre-Brexit tour of the four United Kingdom nations; on Wednesday she will trigger Article 50, beginning the two-year negotiation process of leaving the European Union.
"I think it makes it very hard for the prime minister to maintain a rational opposition to a referendum in the timescale that I have set out", Sturgeon said after the meeting on Monday afternoon, adding, "in my view, it was not a question of if but when" the referendum will occur.
Addressing staff of the Department for International Development in East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire, Mrs May said: "We stand on the threshold of a significant moment for Britain as we begin the negotiations that will lead us towards a new partnership with Europe".
Mrs Sturgeon said: "I have said that I want people in Scotland to have an informed choice when the terms of Brexit are clear".
'No real guarantee that powers in now devolved areas wouldn't be centralised and no real willingness to discuss powers beyond that'.
May also took the opportunity to reiterate her opposition to Sturgeon's call for another independence referendum.
"When I put it to her that would be in 18 months to two years" time she said "yes" that was her expectation.
The second that the Prime Minister steps out of her meeting with Nicola Sturgeon, she walks nearly literally from one potential constitutional crisis to another.
Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale also opposed a second vote: "Brexit isn't the motivation for another referendum, it's just the latest excuse".
She wrote: "I believe a deal can be negotiated, on differential terms if necessary, which ensures that the interests of people across the United Kingdom are well-represented".
During a flying visit to Scotland on Monday that did not include any public events, Mrs May repeated to the BBC her belief that it would be wrong to ask the people of Scotland to decide their constitutional future "at a point where nobody knows what the situation is going to be".
Promising to build "a more united nation", Mrs May said: "As Britain leaves the European Union, and we forge a new role for ourselves in the world, the strength and stability of our Union will become even more important".
Sturgeon is pressing for a referendum in the second half of 2018 or the first half of 2019, before Britain leaves the European Union, but May has told her "now is not the time".