5 Dec 2017 11:29 AM
First Minister comments on latest negotiations.
Commenting on the Brexit negotiations on the issue of the Irish border, First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon said:
“Despite the fact that no deal on the Irish border issue has been reached today, and while full details of any such deal are still to become clear, I welcome the fact that there now appears to be the outline of an agreement which would ensure that there is no return to a hard border on the island of Ireland.
“The potential for a hard border has been one of the most concerning aspects of Brexit, and the UK Government’s position to date on protecting the terms of the Good Friday Agreement has left much to be desired.
“While I welcome the proposed commitment for Ireland and Northern Ireland – and while the particular circumstances in Scotland are distinct and separate from those in Ireland – today’s developments show very clearly that if one part of UK can retain regulatory alignment with the EU and effectively stay in the single market, there is no good practical reason why others cannot do the same.
“Indeed, any special status for Northern Ireland would make a similar solution for Scotland even more vital. For Scotland to find itself outside the single market, while Northern Ireland effectively stays in would place us at a double disadvantage when it comes to jobs and investment.
“While the simplest answer to the Brexit problem is for the whole UK to stay in the single market, the Scottish Government has already put forward very detailed compromise proposals for how Scotland’s place in the single market could be maintained if the rest of the UK insists on leaving – proposals which were previously rejected by the UK Government as unworkable. Indeed, if Northern Ireland is effectively kept in the single market it makes it all the more vital for Scotland’s national and economic interests that we are too.
“Today’s developments also demonstrate in the clearest possible way, through the role played by the Irish Government at the top table in Europe, the importance of being independent when it comes to defending your vital national interests.
“Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU, and the Scottish Government will continue to make the case, as strongly as ever, for that democratic choice by the people of Scotland to be respected and for our place in Europe to be protected.”