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Theresa May And Nicola Sturgeon Fall-Out Over Brexit And Scottish Independence

Ahead of triggering Article 50 on Wednesday.

27/03/2017 20:42 | Updated 28 March 2017

Tensions between Theresa May and Nicola Sturgeon have exploded on social media in a fall-out over Brexit and Scottish independence.

The pair held a tense meeting in Scotland where the UK Prime Minister refused to give ground on the Scottish First Minister’s demand for a second referendum.

Sturgeon said she was left “frustrated” by May - but suggested she had secured a concession over Brexit negotiations ending within 18 to 24 months.

This would mean the terms of the exit deal with Brussels would be clear enough to hold an independence vote before leaving the EU. Article 50 is being triggered later this week, triggering up to two years of negotiations.

But Downing Street pushed back on the suggestion a Brexit deal would be sown up within 18 months.

Which prompted a rebuttal from Sturgeon.

After talks broke up earlier in the day, Sturgeon characterised the meeting as “business like”. But she told the BBC she was “frustrated by a process that appears not to be listening” .

The SNP leader said:

“It was a business like meeting. I wished the Prime Minister well for the negotiations that will kick off when she triggers Article 50 on Wednesday. 

“I indicated the Scottish Government’s desire to be constructive and play a part in getting what is in everybody’s interests - the best possible deal for the UK.

“I had been under the impression we may be about to get some kind of offer from UK government around powers for the Scottish Government but nothing of that nature emerged.

“What was interesting though... was she is very clear the terms of Brexit, both the exit terms and the details of the future relationship on the trading between the UK and the EU will be clear before the UK exits.

“I put to her that will be in 18 months to two years, she said yes that was her expectation - of course that is the timescale I think the people of Scotland should have their ability make an informed choice.”

By contrast, May told reporters she did not think Scottish people should be making a “significant decision until all the facts were known”.

“The United Kingdom government will be working until we get the best possible deal for the whole of the UK and the people of Scotland,” she said.

Earlier, in a speech to civil servants in East Kilbride, May said the UK was an “unstoppable force” in the world and Brexit would make it “stronger”.

Photographs taken ahead of the meeting at Glasgow’s Crowne Plaza Hotel underlined the tension.

There was no on-camera handshake and the camera capture awkward smiles.

PA Wire/PA Images
Prime Minister Theresa May and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon meet at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Glasgow
PA Wire/PA Images
AFP via Getty Images
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