Sir Keir Starmer yesterday expressed major doubts about whether Nicola Sturgeon’s plan for Scotland to stay in the EU single market if the rest of the UK comes out is possible and challenged her to “put meat on the bones”.
Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union said Theresa May should take account of Scottish views over the terms of Brexit.
But he repeatedly emphasised that the UK Government’s priority should be to negotiate a deal for the whole of the UK, including full access to the single market.
Other than remaining in the EU, Sir Keir said this could only be achieved through membership of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) but he said it was “difficult” to see how Scotland could achieve this without the rest of the UK.
Sir Keir, the former Director of Public Prosecutions in England and the former head of the Crown Prosecution Service in England and Wales, expressed his doubts about the feasibility of Ms Sturgeon’s proposals as she prepares to unveil more details in the coming weeks.
However, they suffered what appeared to be a fatal blow last week when Chancellor Philip Hammond ruled out any separate Scottish deal and accused the First Minister of “clutching at straws”.
They were previously undermined by a series of academics and high-profile politicians warning they are impossible and they would mean creating a hard economic border between Scotland and England.