Nicola Sturgeon has urged the UK Government to take a more inclusive approach to negotiations on leaving the European Union (EU) as talks get under way in Brussels.
Scotland’s First Minister renewed calls for the devolved administrations to have a seat at the table during the Brexit discussions, describing the current situation as “troubling”.
She warned UK Brexit Secretary David Davis that a failure to pursue the “common-sense” objective of keeping the UK in the single market would put jobs, investment and living standards “on the line”.
Speaking during a visit to the University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC) in Inchinnan, Renfrewshire, Ms Sturgeon said: “I think it is really troubling that these formal negotiations are getting under way today led by a UK Government that has no mandate, no credibility, no authority and no clear idea even amongst its own ranks of what it’s trying to achieve.
“We need to see a different approach to these negotiations if they are not going to end up being damaging to our economy. We need a more inclusive approach that involves voices from every part of the UK, including the Scottish Government, and we need an approach that has a common-sense objective.
“In my view, that common-sense objective should be keeping the UK in the single market because leaving the EU shouldn’t mean jeopardising hundreds of thousands of jobs, shouldn’t mean jeopardising investment and it shouldn’t mean putting living standards on the line.
“That’s what leaving the single market will do.”
Ms Sturgeon said discussions between the Scottish Government and the UK Government had taken place following the general election in which Prime Minister Theresa May lost her majority.
She said: “These will continue but I think it’s now time not just for the Scottish Government but for voices across Scotland and across the UK to come together to say to the UK Government that they cannot continue to lead the UK down a path with no clear idea of what they are trying to achieve and a path that could be so damaging.
“So, let’s have a more inclusive approach and an approach that focuses on keeping the UK within the single market.”
Ms Sturgeon refused to be drawn on her plans for a second independence referendum after the loss of 21 SNP seats, only saying she would continue to reflect on the result, listen to a range of different voices and come to a conclusion “in due course”.