Daily Maverick

Scotland’s Sturgeon rails at ‘mad Brexiteers’ after EU talks

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon railed at London's "mad Brexiteers" on Monday after holding talks with EU officials in Brussels, where she firmly backed Britain staying in the bloc's customs union and single market after the divorce.

Sturgeon said British Prime Minister Theresa May ignored anti-Brexit opinion as part of a withering list of criticisms made to journalists after a meeting with the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.

“One of the problems for the UK government right now… is that they are not really listening to anyone apart from the mad Brexiteers,” Sturgeon said at a conference organised by the Politico website.

“And for the avoidance of doubt, I’m talking about people like (foreign minister) Boris Johnson,” she said.

She also singled out pro-Brexit MP Jacob Rees Mogg and Environment Minister Michael Gove.

Sturgeon, leader of the separatist Scottish National Party, said she had made “very clear” to Barnier her wish to see the UK stay in the customs union.

This was “the only credible and sustainable option for the United Kingdom”, she said.

“It’s a question of whether they concede that now or are forced to concede that later,” she said, adding that its was crucial to solving the thorny Irish border question.

“My view is if we concede it now, then we might start to see some progress in these talks and that would be better than waiting until later.”

Sturgeon cautioned however that Scotland would have a problem with Northern Ireland having better access to the EU single market than Scotland.

The possibility “raises additional issues for Scotland but I think it raises a whole lot of issues for the UK government,” she said. DM

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