EDINBURGH (Reuters) – Britain looks increasingly likely to leave the European Union next year with no deal, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Wednesday.
FILE PHOTO: Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon speaks at the Royal Society of Arts in London, Britain October 15, 2018. Stefan Rousseau/Pool via REUTERS
The United Kingdom is due to exit the EU on March 29 but Prime Minister Theresa May’s talks with Brussels have stalled over a fallback plan for the border between Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland.
That is stoking concern about a possible failure to reach a Brexit deal, which most economists say would throw the world’s No. 5 economy into disarray.
Sturgeon said she believed May’s government was “closing down the negotiating space” to reach a Brexit deal with the EU.
“I am increasingly concerned, literally with every day that passes right now, that the prospect of no deal is becoming ever greater,” she told a Scottish parliamentary committee.
“We’re in a fluid situation … I think no deal might actually be the most likely outcome, and that is deeply concerning,” she said. “It is staggering incompetence that the government has allowed it to get to this stage.”
Sturgeon, whose party supports Scottish independence, has said she will wait to see the detail of any Brexit deal before deciding on Scotland’s own path.
But she has expressed frustration that Scotland will leave the EU reflecting Britain’s overall 52-48 percent vote to leave without, she argues, Scotland having had a proper say in the process.
Scotland, one of the United Kingdom’s four nations, voted 62-38 percent to stay in the EU.
“I think Brexit is frankly shaping up to the biggest failure of government policy and handling of a situation that any of us have seen maybe in our entire lifetimes,” she said.
Reporting by Elisabeth O’Leary, editing by Andy Bruce