- PM pledges to use Brexit to cultivate a 'more united nation'
- Mrs May will hold face to face talks with Nicola Sturgeon over a second Indyref
- The Prime Minister will trigger Article 50 on Wednesday
- This means that on or before March 29 2019 Britain will formally leave the EU
Theresa May will vow to fight for the UK today as she holds her first face-to-face showdown with Nicola Sturgeon since their bitter row over Scottish independence erupted.
The Prime Minister is to insist that Brexit can make the union stronger and 'more united' in an impassioned defence of the historic ties.
Just two days before she triggers the formal divorce process from the EU, Mrs May will then hold talks with the Scottish First minister - with sparks expected to fly.
The two leaders have been engaged in a brutal public slanging match since Miss Sturgeon announced her determination to call a fresh referendum on breaking away from the UK as early as Autumn next year.
Mrs May has insisted 'now is not the time' for an independence vote, and made clear the Westminster government will ignore any requests for one at least until Brexit is completed in March 2019. She has accused Miss Sturgeon of 'playing politics' with the country's future.
But the SNP chief has accused the PM of 'untenable' behaviour and 'running scared' of the electorate.
The Prime Minister has pledged to use Brexit to strengthen the United Kingdom and cultivate 'a more united nation' despite Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wanting a second independence referendum before Britain is allowed to leave the European Union
In a speech to civil servants at the Department for International Development in East Kilbride later, Mrs May is to pledge that she will 'never allow our Union to become looser and weaker, or our people to drift apart'.
'We stand on the threshold of a significant moment for Britain as we begin the negotiations that will lead us towards a new partnership with Europe,' she will say.
'And I want to make it absolutely clear as we move through this process that this is not – in any sense – the moment that Britain steps back from the world.
'Indeed, we are going to take this opportunity to forge a more Global Britain. The closest friend and ally with Europe, but also a country that looks beyond Europe to build relationships with old friends and new allies alike.
'That is why the Plan for Britain I have set-out – a plan to get the right deal for Britain abroad as well as a better deal for ordinary, working people at home – has as its heart one over-arching goal: to build a more united nation. Because I believe when we work together, there is no limit to what we can do.'
STURGEON MUST ASK SCOTS PARLIAMENT BEFORE GOING TO UK GOVERNMENT
There is a strict process that needs to be followed to hold a binding referendum:
- The First Minister must first get the consent of the Scottish Parliament. While she does not have an overall majority, this will be straightforward.
- In 2014, this was followed by a written agreement between London and Edinburgh known as the 'Edinburgh Agreement', setting the terms for the referendum taking place.
- Westminster must then give permission as constitutional reform is not devolved to Scotland. This means a 'section 30' order must be agreed in Parliament under the Scotland Act.
- If powers are passed to Holyrood, the Scottish Parliament will pass a law setting out the rules of the referendum - including the date, question and franchise.
Mrs May will also hint that Brexit could mean more powers being passed to devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
'A more united nation means working actively to bring people and communities together by promoting policies which support integration and social cohesion.
'In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland that means fully respecting, and indeed strengthening, the devolution settlements. But never allowing our Union to become looser and weaker, or our people to drift apart.
'So in those policy areas where the UK Government holds responsibility, I am determined that we will put the interests of the Union – both the parts and the whole – at the heart of our decision-making.
'So as Britain leaves the European Union, and we forge a new role for ourselves in the world, the strength and stability of our Union will become even more important.'
A fortnight ago Miss Sturgeon demanded the power to hold a referendum between Autumn 2018 and Spring 2019.
The talks between Mrs May and Miss Sturgeon this afternoon will be their last before Britain passes the point of no return in its EU divorce.
On Wednesday the PM will formally write to Donald Tusk, the President of the European Commission, triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.
That means Britain will leave the Brussels club on or before March 29 2019.
On Thursday ministers will publish the Great Repeal Bill, which will formally repeal the 1972 European Communities Act and transfer reams of existing EU law onto the domestic statute book.
The EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier warned today there is a 'distinct possibility' Britain will leave without a trade deal.
He admitted the outcome would 'undoubtedly' leave the UK and the EU worse off.
On Wednesday Mrs May will formally write to Donald Tusk, the President of the European Commission, triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. That means that on or before March 29 2019 Britain will formally leave the EU
Writing in the Financial Times, he said: 'It goes without saying that a no-deal scenario, while a distinct possibility, would have severe consequences for our people and our economies. It would undoubtedly leave the UK worse off.
'Severe disruption to air transport and long queues at the Channel port of Dover are just some of the many examples of the negative consequences of failing to reach a deal. Others include the disruption of supply chains, including the suspension of the delivery of nuclear material to the UK.
Yesterday the government announced it would use so-called 'Henry VIII' powers – which bypass Parliament – to change European Union laws as they are repatriated and allowing them to be altered or removed after Brexit.
In a report today a think tank argues Mrs May shouldn't try and stay 'half-in, half-out' of the EU customs union and instead pursue a clean break – allowing it to negotiate trade deals around the world after Brexit.
Open Europe's policy analyst, Aarti Shankar, said: 'We have looked at the evidence and at international examples, and conclude that leaving the EU's customs union is the right decision for the UK.
'If the UK remained in the customs union after Brexit, it would not be able to meet the Government's ambition of conducting an independent trade policy and achieving a truly 'global Britain'.
EU migrants in Britain 'will keep child benefit rights after we quit'
EU migrants living in Britain will continue to receive child benefit even after Britain leaves the Brussels bloc, leaked proposal indicated yesterday
EU migrants living in Britain will continue to receive child benefit even after Britain leaves the Brussels bloc, it was claimed yesterday.
Leaked proposals drawn up by the Brexit department would allow all of the estimated three million EU migrants currently living here to keep their benefit rights.
Cabinet ministers have been warned the move may be required to ensure British pensioners living in Spain and other countries keep their health and pension rights.
But the plan risks stoking another row about commitments made in the 2015 Conservative manifesto. That document said the Government would insist that all EU migrants contributed to UK coffers for four years before they could receive benefits.
The issue has been controversial because many EU migrants have claimed child benefit here for children living abroad. Ministers asked EU leaders to settle the issue ahead of negotiations but were rebuffed.
A senior Government source told the Sunday Times: ‘The recommendation ... is that as a priority we need to secure rights for UK citizens in the EU. The recommendation is that the EU migrants who are already here should continue to have their rights, which includes being able to export child benefit.’
Last night officials refused to comment on the leaked papers. The vast majority of EU nationals living in the UK currently have been here for four years or more so would still qualify for benefits.
The Conservative manifesto said: ‘We will insist that EU migrants who want to claim tax credits and child benefit must live here and contribute to our country for a minimum of four years. This will reduce the financial incentive for lower-paid, lower-skilled workers to come to Britain.’
About Article Author