THE prospect of Scotland securing a different Brexit deal from the rest of the United Kingdom has been raised by David Mundell as Nicola Sturgeon insisted that as far as the Scottish Government was concerned “Remain means Remain” for Scotland.

The First Minister, who is in London today for a variety of events, including talks with Fabian Picardo, the Chief Minister of Gibraltar, insisted Scotland’s place within the EU must be at the top of Theresa May’s in-tray when she takes over as prime minister today.

The Herald has been told that Mrs May is expected to talk to Ms Sturgeon within 48 hours of taking over the reins at No 10.

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The Scottish Secretary, who is due to meet the FM in the coming days to discuss Brexit, talked about “putting Scotland at the heart of the EU negotiations”; that ensuring the UK Government got the best possible deal for Britain would mean securing the best possible deal for Scotland, which, he argued, was the “way we keep Scotland as part of the UK”.

Mr Mundell, addressing journalists at the Scotland Office, made clear the UK Government welcomed any of the FM’s EU initiatives, which “benefited Scotland but not to the detriment to the continuation of the UK”.

This, he explained, was why the UK Government had not taken any steps to obstruct her talks with European leaders. “We look forward to hearing what the outcome is,” he said.

Asked if Scotland could get a different deal to the rest of the UK, the Secretary of State replied: “I’m open to Scotland having a slightly different deal if that’s doable. But we have to look at what’s doable.”


He went on: “The Scottish Government is going to be part of this process so it’s for them to set out what their expectation is. We will set out what our expectation is. Scottish business will set out their expectation. When I met them last week and Nicola Sturgeon met them, their message was very clear they want a Team UK approach and they don’t want the issue of our relationship with the EU to be muddied by talk of a second independence referendum.”

But Angus Robertson, the Nationalist leader at Westminster, has declared that if Ms Sturgeon's attempts to secure Scotland's place in the EU are blocked, then holding another poll about the nation leaving the UK was "exactly what we will do".

Mr Mundell argued that if ever Scotland became independent, there would be “absolutely no guarantee” that it would become a member of the EU, noting how there would be “huge amounts of uncertainty about what the position would be”.

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He spoke about how, Scotland, in such circumstances, would have to use the euro and have a fixed border with the rest of the UK. “When people analyse that proposition, they would feel they would be better off within the UK.”

The Scottish Secretary stressed how his role in the Brexit talks would be to “ensure that Scotland gets the best possible deal and that deal involves clearly being part of the single market”.

However, leading Brexiter, Liam Fox, tipped to make a return to cabinet, has made clear the UK does not have to be part of the single market to sell to the single market.

Ms Sturgeon said she was looking forward to developing a “constructive relationship” with Mrs May but stressed a key part of her responsibility was to protect Scotland's place in the EU and avoid, as far as possible, the economic damage and prolonged uncertainty Brexit would entail.

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“The incoming PM has said to her party ‘Brexit means Brexit’ but she must not forget that Scotland voted to stay in the EU and so for us Remain means Remain.”

The FM added: “It will be an early test for the new Prime Minister to demonstrate that the process the UK Government will now embark on is open to considering options to protect Scotland's relationship with the EU.”