The Scottish Government will be “fully engaged” in Brexit talks but UK officials will take the lead in all areas, Theresa May has said.
Ahead of her party’s conference tomorrow, the Prime Minister reiterated that Nicola Sturgeon would have no veto over the Brexit deal struck by the UK.
Mrs May also restated her opposition to a second independence referendum, saying Scotland’s trading relationship with the rest of the UK was more important than its economic links to Europe.
She said: “What I am very clear about is that, as we look into these negotiations, we will fully engage the Scottish government in the discussions that we have, in preparing what position that the UK is going to take.
“But also we are going to make a success of this.
“We need to ensure that we get the best deal, the right deal for the UK in trade of goods and services, deliver for people on their desire for control of movement of people from the EU into the UK.
“But also alongside that, we look at the opportunities that will open up to us when we leave the EU for trade around the rest of the world. I want us to be a global leader in free trade, and make sure those opportunities are spread across the UK.”
The UK Government has yet to clarify what formal role, if any, Scotland will play in negotiations, or whether a new framework will be set up to bring together ministers and officials from the two governments.
The Prime Minister said Brexit talks were “for the United Kingdom to conduct with the European Union”, but that she would “listen and take account of the particular concerns” of devolved administrations.
She said: “What I want to ensure is that we hear from all parts of the UK, and that we hear from the Scottish government and we engage with them on the issues that particularly matter to Scotland.
“But what is crucial is that I am determined that we will make a success of this, and I am really clear there will be opportunities for the whole of the UK as we leave the European Union.
“We must make sure we grasp those opportunities, but also I want to be a government that works for everyone, not a privileged few. And that means ensuring the benefits of those opportunities for economic growth are spread across the whole of the UK.”
The Prime Minister said that “overall”, the UK had voted to leave the EU, despite Scotland’s 62% vote to Remain in June’s referendum. In an interview with BBC Scotland, she said: “I continue to believe that Scotland is better off as part of the United Kingdom, and I believe passionately in the strong union that there has been between Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom for so long.
“Our history, the economic ties we have - I want Scotland to remain part of the UK.
“People talk about what’s going to happen in terms of leaving the European Union for Scotland’s trade - actually the economic importance of Scotland being part of the UK far overwhelms that.”