Nicola Sturgeon unveils 'soft Brexit' plan in bid to save Scottish access to EU single-market

Nicola Sturgeon is expected to unveil plans for a so-called “soft Brexit” in a bid to keep Scotland’s access to the EU’s single-market. The First Minister of Scotland will reportedly put pressure on Theresa May by pushing for membership of the European Economic area (EEA) and European Free Trade Association (EFTA), in a speech on Tuesday (20 October).

The arrangements would see Scotland securing a Norway-style deal with the EU. The SNP leader is also expected to warn Westminster that if she fails to get the arrangement she wants, Sturgeon will call for a second Scottish independence referendum.

“Being part of the European Single Market is vital for Scotland’s future economic wellbeing,” said Sturgeon, according to the Press Association.

“And losing our place in the Single Market would be potentially devastating to our long-term prosperity, to jobs, investment and people’s livelihoods.

“It would end our current status as part of the world’s biggest free trade area, a market around eight times bigger than the UK’s alone, and would have a profound and long-lasting impact on our national economic standing and our standards of living.”

Prime Minister Theresa May reportedly phoned Sturgeon on Monday to tell the First Minister that she would look at the proposals “very seriously”.

May has refused to give a “running commentary” on her Brexit negotiations, but the government will unveil a “plan” next year after MPs overwhelmingly backed a Labour “clarity” motion.

The Conservative premier has also promised to invoke Article 50, the official mechanism to split from the EU, before the end of March 2017.

May will face a grilling from a group of senior MPs on Tuesday. The House of Commons’ Liaison Committee, chaired by Tory MP Andrew Tyrie, will start the evidence session at 14:00 GMT.

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