Sturgeon and May to meet in Edinburgh today following reshuffle

Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to meet Nicola Sturgeon in Edinburgh today, as Labour and the SNP warned her new Cabinet signals a major shift to the right.

Friday, 15th July 2016, 8:35 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 5:37 pm
Jeremy Hunt remains as Health Secretary. Picture: Getty

The talks come less than 48 hours after Mrs May became premier and stressed the importance of the Union.

After Wednesday night’s initial appointments, including the shock choice of Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary, Mrs May completed her top team yesterday.

She rewarded leadership campaign manager Chris Grayling with the post of Transport Secretary, former rival Andrea Leadsom got Environment and Priti Patel was made International Development Secretary – despite previously saying the department should be abolished.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Other key roles include Justine Greening at Education, Liz Truss at Justice, Damian Green at Work and Pensions, Patrick McLoughlin as Tory chairman and Sajid Javid at Communities. David Mundell stays as Scottish Secretary, Jeremy Hunt at Health and Michael Fallon at Defence.

Edinburgh South Labour MP Ian Murray said: “Despite Theresa May’s rhetoric on the steps of Number 10, this new Tory cabinet looks even more right-wing than the one that we’ve just left behind. People across Scotland will not be fooled by new management at the top of the Tory government. Their economic credibility lies in tatters after taking a gamble with Brexit and they have put the Union at risk.”

Angus Robertson, the SNP’s Westminster leader, said it was one of the most right-wing cabinets of the modern era.

He said: “The new Prime Minister may have used her speech outside Downing Street to speak of social justice but the mask has already slipped and the reality is we are witnessing a sharp turn to the right in UK politics.”

New chancellor Philip Hammond provoked immediate tensions with the SNP when he said he could not envisage a scenario where Scotland had a different relationship with the EU from the rest of the UK.

He said the vote to leave was a democratic decision made by the UK as a whole, which would now be implemented.

Mr Hammond said: “I think the best future for Scotland is inside the UK economy.

“Let’s negotiate with the European Union, from outside the EU, a relationship which works for Britain and works for Europe, so we can have as close a relationship in trade and commerce as we possibly can while being outside the European Union, as the 
British people have determined we should be.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Mr Hammond’s comments were “deeply disappointing”.

She said: “I have been absolutely clear on this issue – the people of Scotland voted decisively to stay part of the European Union and their wishes must be respected.

“That includes respect from the UK government. I very much hope the new Prime Minister will be more open to constructive discussion.”