David Davis has dealt a blow to Nicola Sturgeon by ruling out the possibility of Scotland having a veto on any Brexit deal. The minister also stated that European Union (EU) migrants who arrive after a certain cut-off point may be sent back.
The Secretary of State for Leaving the European Union (EU) appeared on Sky News to talk about Britain leaving the EU. Asked by Dermot Murnaghan about the reality of Nicola Sturgeon’s pledge to Scots that the country could stay in the EU, Mr. Davis said: “I don’t think that works.”
The former Shadow Home Secretary asserted that the government refuses to create internal borders in the UK, telling Mr. Murnaghan: “One of our really challenging issues to deal with will be the internal border we have with southern Ireland, and we are not going to go about creating other internal borders inside the United Kingdom.”
Mr. Davis told the veteran broadcaster that he would “minimise disruption” caused by Brexit, and plans to calm the fears many Remain voters have about a post-EU economy.
The minister said:
“The aim is to try to address the concerns of people who are basically Remain people, who say ‘well we are worried about inward investment, we are worried about trade with Europe, we are worried about all sorts of things’.
“And we will try as best we can – they can’t have a veto because there are 17.5 million people who have given us a mandate, they have told us what to do, we can’t disobey it – but what we can do is to try to do what we can to minimise any disruption or turbulence or problems.”
The former Special Air Service (SAS) reserve soldier said he wants to see a “generous settlement” for EU migrants already in the UK. He warned, however, that this would only apply to migrants who arrived before a certain date, which is yet to be decided.
The cabinet minister argued that a cut-off point is necessary because, as the date for Brexit draws nearer, there will likely be a “rush” of people headed to migrate to Britain.
Asked by Mr. Murnaghan how the government will know if a migrant arrived after the date set as a cut-off point, Mr. Davis said “there won’t be a problem” as “they will have employment records for a start, most of them, and we have other records, there will be plenty of records”.
Mr. Davis’s Sky News appearance came after, yesterday, Nicola Sturgeon told Andrew Marr she believes Scotland has a veto on any Brexit deal. On the BBC programme the first minister said comments by Theresa May leaves Scotland in a “very strong position”.
In Edinburgh on Friday the new Prime Minister told reporters that she does not want to invoke Article 50, the mechanism for taking Britain out of the EU, until there is an agreed “UK approach” supported by Scotland.