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May meets Sturgeon for talks before triggering Brexit process

File composite photos of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (left) and Prime Minister Theresa May, as the UK Government said it will reject a request from the Scottish Government for a second referendum on independence. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday March 16, 2017. Prime Minister Theresa May said "now is not the time" for another ballot. See PA story POLITICS Independence. Photo credit should read: PA Wire

The Prime Minister has held talks with Scotland's First Minister as she prepares to formally trigger the Brexit process.
Theresa May and Nicola Sturgeon met at a hotel in Glasgow for around an hour.
The Prime Minister's visit to Scotland came a day before the Scottish Parliament is expected to pass a vote in favour of seeking another independence referendum, and two days before she triggers Article 50.
It follows a series of talks between UK ministers and those from the devolved nations over the UK's approach to leaving the EU.
Scottish ministers say there has been no clarity over how Scotland's interests will be represented as the Brexit process gets under way, and the role the Scottish Government will play in negotiations.
Ahead of the meeting, Mrs May said her position will not change on Ms Sturgeon's call for a second independence referendum by spring 2019.
She would not be drawn on whether a vote could take place further into the future, restating her view that "now is not the time" for another ballot.
The First Minister wants the powers to hold a referendum between autumn 2018 and spring 2019, when she says the UK's Brexit deal will become clear.
Mrs May said a vote during that time frame would be "unfair" to the Scottish people.
"My position is very simple and it hasn't changed," she said. "It is that now is not the time to be talking about a second independence referendum and that's for a couple of reasons.”
"First of all, now is the point when we are triggering Article 50, we're starting negotiations for leaving the European Union. Now is the time when we should be pulling together, not hanging apart. Pulling together to make sure we get the best possible deal for the whole of the UK.”
"Also I think it would be unfair on the people of Scotland to ask them to make a significant decision until all the facts were known, at a point where nobody knows what the situation is going to be.”
"My position isn't going to change, which is that now is not the time to be talking about a second independence referendum.”
"There have been considerable discussion at various levels, at official level, at ministerial level, with the Scottish Government and indeed with the other devolved administrations across the United Kingdom about their interests and their concerns as we look ahead to triggering Article 50 and the negotiations for Brexit that will follow."
She said there are areas where the UK and Scottish governments are in agreement, such as workers' rights.
"What I want to do is ensure that we do get the best possible deal for the whole of the United Kingdom, that's for people and businesses across the whole of the United Kingdom, including people in Scotland," she added.
But Mrs Sturgeon insisted yesterday that the Prime Minister has no rational argument against a second independence referendum.
Following the meeting in Glasgow, Ms Sturgeon insisted the Prime Minister had been clear the terms of the UK's divorce from the EU and the details of a new free trade deal would be known within two years.
"I think it makes it very difficult for the Prime Minister to maintain a rational opposition to a referendum in the timescale I have set out," Ms Sturgeon said.
"I think she has got a perfectly rational opposition to a referendum now, which is why I am not proposing it.”
"But I think based on the discussion today I would struggle to see what her rational opposition to it would be in the timescale we have been talking about."

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