Sturgeon challenges May to "demonstrate Scotland's wishes can be heard"

First minister outlines key ‘Brexit tests’ needed to safeguard Scottish interests 

FIRST MINISTER Nicola Sturgeon, in a speech at the Institute for Public Policy Research Scotland (IPPR), has laid out what she said were the specific interests the Scottish Government wanted to safeguard in a post-Brexit UK.

In a speech on the topic of ‘Scotland in Europe’, Sturgeon said there were five key tests that focuses on Scottish interests, that could not be overlooked by the UK Government if it wished to demonstrated that Scotland was a valued partner in the union. 

This morning, she said: "For a UK Government which is always ready to emphasise how valued Scotland is as a part of the union, now is the time to assert and demonstrate that Scotland's voice can be heard, that it can matter."

The first minister also used the speech to state her feelings on the conduct of the European referendum, and to reflect on the result and what lessons she believed could be learned.

"The question of Scotland in the EU is not abstract but fundamental in how we equip ourselves to face the challenges of the 21st century." Nicola Sturgeon

On the more specific topic of Scotland's place in the European Union (EU), Nicola Sturgeon said: "The question of Scotland in the EU is not abstract but fundamental in how we equip ourselves to face the challenges of the 21st century.

"It's about jobs, security and our prospects and it matters to us all."

In response to the ‘Brexit means Brexit’ statement by UK Prime Minister Theresa May, Sturgeon emphasised the view that Scotland is one of a number of constituent parts of the UK. 

“I welcomed the pledge made by the prime minister that there would be no triggering of Article 50 until the views of all governments were taken into account, this is a good multi-national approach,” the first minister said.

The five tests outlined by her looked at the "rooted interests" Scotland had in staying in the EU which are democratic, human, economic, social and solidarity.

"Now we see the situation has changed with the UK representing uncertainty, upheaval and unpredictability." Nicola Sturgeon

Sturgeon reiterated the fact that Scotland voted to remain in the EU referendum and that to be taken out against its will would be a “breach of that democratic interest".

She went on to say: "In fact - in 2014 well, we were told back then that our membership of the EU was dependant on being within the United Kingdom. 

"Now we see the situation has changed with the UK representing uncertainty, upheaval and unpredictability."

"It's about jobs, security and our prospects and it matters to us all." Nicola Sturgeon

However, she did concede that the democratic principle also extended to those in Scotland who voted to leave and pledged to take this into account. 

Reffering to the Scottish leave vote, she said: “We must not be complacent, one million of us in Scotland voted to leave and I have a responsibility to listen."

Sturgeon has said she will continue to listen and consult the panel of experts appointed by her after the Brexit vote.

The Standing Council on Europe, made up of 18 legal, economic and diplomatic specialists, first met on 14 July and was established by Sturgeon after the UK opted to leave the EU despite 62 per cent of Scots voting to remain.

Its chairman, Professor Anton Muscatelli, said it would look at how best to secure Scotland's place in the EU.

Picture courtesy of Nathanael Williams

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