First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has written to the Prime Minister following the extension of Article 50 until the end of October.
The First Minister said it is essential now that this time is used constructively and not wasted, and she has called for ongoing talks over EU exit to include the devolved administrations, and for any deal agreed by the UK Parliament to be put to a second referendum.
Full text of the letter:
I am writing to you today following the agreement reached at the European Council last night to extend the Article 50 period to the end of October 2019, with a review in June.
It is welcome that the European Union has acted in this way to give the UK more time. However, it is essential now that this time is used constructively and not wasted.
People in Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU but have been ignored by the UK Government throughout the Brexit process. That must now change.
Notwithstanding the clear remain result in Scotland, the Scottish Government has sought to engage meaningfully on the terms of the UK’s departure from the EU and has called consistently for genuine efforts to reach consensus across party lines and with the devolved administrations. However, it is still not clear that even at this late stage and following the repeated defeat of your proposals that you are willing to drop your red lines which have restricted what can be achieved in the future relationship.
We now have the gift of more time from the EU, and that must be used constructively to re-set the UK Government approach. Your ongoing talks with the Leader of the Opposition should now broaden to include other parties, the devolved administrations, business and civic society, and open up the range of options on the table in an effort to reach a genuine consensus. If such talks are to stand any chance of success you must be prepared to recognise in particular that it is essential for Scotland, at the very least, to stay inside the Single Market and continue to benefit from freedom of movement.
Further, and more fundamentally, the Scottish Government considers that any deal agreed by the UK Parliament should be put to another referendum, with the alternative proposition on the ballot paper being to remain in the EU. The extension to 31 October provides enough time to do this, and it is essential that no time is lost in making the necessary preparations.
I urge you to convene an urgent cross-party and cross-administration discussion to agree how to use the time we have been given.
I am copying this letter to the First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford.
Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland