Theresa May has faced an attack on her own position on Brexit during her statement on last week’s EU summit in the House of Commons.
The Prime Minister was outlining what was discussed the day after the Brexit Bill was passed in Parliament – and just 24 hours after Nicola Sturgeon signalled her intention to call for a Scottish independence referendum.
And it was former SNP leader Alex Salmond that embarrassed Mrs May by quoting her comments made in the Daily Telegraph last year about Brexit.
The Prime Minister said last July that she would not trigger Article 50 “until I think that we have a U.K. approach and objectives for negotiations”.
She added: “I think it is important that we establish that before we trigger Article 50.”
Mr Salmond jumped on the comments when he asked the Prime Minister: “Was that misreporting by the Daily Telegraph, misspeaking by the Prime Minister, or is she still working on it?”
Mrs May responded: “We have been in discussions with the Scottish Government and the other devolved administrations, recognising the issues that they have raised, recognising the issues and concerns and the common ground between us.
“But you refer to the views of the Scottish people in relation to the announcement made yesterday by the Scottish First Minister, I might remind him that the evidence in Scotland is that actually the majority of the Scottish people do not want a second independence referendum.”
Mr Salmond’s comments were earlier mirrored by the SNP’s leader in Westminster, Angus Robertson.
He said: “Now she knows that she has no agreement with the devolved administration, despite months of compromise suggestions from the Scottish Government.
“So, will the UK Government, even at this very late stage, use the next days to secure a compromise UK-wide approach, or does she still plan to plough on regardless, even though she knows of the consequences that will mean?”
The Prime Minister stressed that it is in Scotland’s economic interests to stay part of the United Kingdom’s single market, rather than abandoning it to keep its relationship with Brussels.
Mrs May yesterday hit out at Ms Sturgeon’s plans to hold a second Scottish referendum as early as 2018 in light of the Brexit vote.
She argued that it was “not a moment to play politics or create uncertainty”.
Parliament last night paved the way for the formal process of withdrawal from the EU after it passed the Brexit Bill, rejecting all the amendments from the House of Lords.
Mrs May is expected to trigger Article 50 on March 27.
Top pic: Rex