Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is pushing for a coalition of like-minded UK government ministers to put pressure on UK Prime Minister Theresa May to preserve Britain’s access to the European single market even if Brexit happens.
In an interview with BBC Scotland, Sturgeon said it was worth a “good try” to form a coalition across the UK that gets the UK government “into a more sensible position” over Brexit and staying in the single market.
Scotland voted in favour of remaining in the EU by 62% to 38% but the UK as a whole voted to leave the EU by 51.9% to 48.1%.
Sturgeon argued that leaving the single market would have “long-term, deep and permanent damaging effects” on the economy.
“I respect that Theresa May has a mandate in England and Wales to remove the UK from the European Union … I disagree with it but I don’t argue with that,” said Sturgeon.
“I think it is much more questionable that she has a clear mandate to take the UK out of the single market.
“Because both in the remain campaign and in the leave campaign key figures made the case that voting to leave the EU did not automatically mean leaving the single market.
“Now, leaving the single market will have, I think, long-term, deep and permanent damaging effects on our economy.
“So I will argue, and I think I will be joined in that argument by many people across the political spectrum probably in England and Wales as well that say ‘OK we understand your mandate in England and Wales to take us out of the EU but let’s not take us out of the single market’ because that I think is much more questionable.”
Sturgeon said the UK Government appeared to he heading for a “hard” Brexit, but added: “The question is: can that be changed?
” … can there be a coalition across the UK that gets the UK government into a more sensible position?
“I think that’s worth a good try because Theresa May … she was on the remain side, presumably she knows the real risks of removal from the single market.
“So let’s have a try at getting the UK, not into the best position — because the best position in my view would be continued membership of the EU — but let’s try to see if we can get the UK as a whole into the least worst position and that means staying in the single market.”