United Kingdom

14 Mar 2017

May warns Sturgeon, seeks good deal with the EU

In her statement in the House of Commons, Theresa May warned Nicola Sturgeon that this is not a time to play politics or create any kind of uncertainty. The British prime minister said that the government bill will get royal assent in the coming days and that she will return to the Commons to trigger article 50.

“This will be a defining moment…we’ll be a strong and self-governing Britain. This deal will work for everyone, that’s why we have been working closely with the devolved government, including the Scottish” May said, and didn’t miss the opportunity to declare that “it’s not time to play politics, but to work together for this country”, having set her sights on Sturgeon’s announcement for staging a second Scottish independence referendum.

The 62-year old politician was pressed by Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour party, to answer on her plans for the European Union nationals who currently live and work in the United Kingdom and how they should be treated after Brexit occurs. May said that “I want the issue of EU nationals to be settled early. But I want a deal that guarantees the rights of Britons living in EU countries too. They are also individuals.”

Theresa May revealed that the UK government has already received advice on how to counter any future legal threat to Brexit, however she denied to disclose more information on the subject. Hilary Benn, the Chair of the Brexit committee, asked about the totally different views of Boris Johnson and Liam Fox, on leaving the EU without a deal. May diplomatically said that she expects the UK to get a good deal.

The British prime minister took some fire when Alex Salmond, the Scottish National Party former first minister, told her that with her actions, she has united the whole of Scotland against her. He reminded her that in July 2016, she was saying to the people that she won’t trigger article 50 unless there is a UK-wide approach to Brexit. May tried to evade by commenting that the evidence that she has in her hands indicate that the Scottish citizens don’t want a second referendum. However, she didn’t miss the chance to show her ironic humour when she told Salmond that he had promised that the 2014 referendum would be a once-in-a-generation vote, adding that “it seems that a generation now lasts less than three years.”

May told the House of Commons that she will seek a bespoke trade deal between the UK and the EU. Labour’s party Stella Creasy asked the prime minister if there is a possibility for the UK to be an associate member of the customs union and she received the response that this will be a part of the negotiations. Theresa May stated that staying in the single market would amount to staying in the EU.

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Towards the end of her speech, Theresa May said that “I wouldn’t like the term divorce to cover Brexit. When people get a divorce, many times they don’t have a good relationship afterwards. I want a good relationship with the EU.” Trying to soothe the worries of the Scottish people, she said that “I am opposed to taking back any powers from Scotland. There may be a case of giving Scotland powers that come back from Brussels.”

Theresa May is expected to be in the top of the news headlines in the next days, since she will be triggering article 50 and starting the official negotiations with the European Union.