Nicola Sturgeon publishes 'serious and genuine' proposals on keeping Scotland in single market

The Scottish First Minister says the proposals 'represent a significant compromise' by the Scottish government

Nicola Sturgeon publishes 'serious and genuine' proposals on keeping Scotland in single market

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon at the British-Irish Council (BIC) Summit, Dublin Castle in 2015 | Image:

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has published her government's proposals on how Scotland can remain in the European Single Market after Brexit.

At a press conference this morning, she said she does not accept that "there is a mandate to take any part of the UK out of the single market”.

Describing the proposals this morning, Ms Sturgeon said the document - titled Scotland's Place in Europe - focuses on three strands:

  • Why the UK as a whole should remain a party of the single market
  • Proposals on how Scotland could remain in the single market if the rest of the UK leaves
  • The powers of the Scottish parliament post-Brexit

The document states: "We find ourselves in an unprecedented position. It is not of our making. It threatens our economy and our society and is incompatible with the kind of country we are now and want to be in future.

"The situation we find ourselves in should transcend party politics and demands creative leadership on behalf of the Scottish people to protect our national interests. We are taking that step and demonstrating that leadership. We look to the UK Government to match these efforts and to work with us to move forward."

Ms Sturgeon said the proposals are 'serious, detailed and reasonable’.

She explained: “These proposals fall short of what we consider to be the best option for Scotland and the UK - full membership of the European Union.

"Far from setting a high bar for the UK government, they represent a significant compromise on the part of the Scottish government. They are a serious and genuine attempt to bring as much consensus as possible."

She argued that while the prospect of an independent Scotland must 'remain on the table', it was not the focus of the paper. However, she added that “Scotland’s interests within the UK demand the devolution settlement be fundamentally revised” following Brexit, as Scotland will no longer be tied to EU laws.

Comparing the proposals to single market arrangements by non-EU countries such as Norway, she suggested Scotland and the UK's arrangement would be "different in detail and scale [...] but not different in principle".

Ms Sturgeon said she accepted that the Brexit negotiations are between the British government and European Union, and that Scotland was not seeking separate negotiations with the EU.

However, she urged Theresa May's government to take the Scottish proposals and seriously, and suggested that “the Tories seem intent on placing a higher priority on cutting immigration than anything else".

Theresa May has promised to look "very seriously" at the proposals set down by Ms Sturgeon.