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PM must be willing to give ground on Brexit deal, says Davidson

An anti-Brexit supporter protests outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain, April 1, 2019. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

By Lewis McKenzie, Political Reporter, Press Association Scotland

Theresa May must be willing to compromise on her Brexit deal if it is to pass at Westminster, according to Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson.

Talks have been held between the Prime Minister and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in an effort to break the deadlock, with MPs having failed to agree to Mrs May's Withdrawal Agreement.

In an interview with STV ahead of her return to frontline politics at her party's conference in Aberdeen, Ms Davidson said she is hopeful of a breakthrough in the talks but said people on both sides of the Brexit debate must be prepared to "meet somewhere in the middle".

"I think at the moment there are conversations going on between Labour and the Conservatives in London," Ms Davidson said.

"The mood music that is coming out of that room is that there may well be a breakthrough this week and I really want to see it, because we know more than anyone in Scotland that sometimes the divisions after referenda are bigger than the divisions before, and we've got into really entrenched positions.

"My view through all of this is that we're going to have to meet somewhere in the middle - between the people who want to overturn the referendum and re-run it and those who want a no-deal Brexit."

The deal put forward by the Prime Minister has faced heavy criticism from opposition parties, as well as from members of her own party.

Ms Davidson said Mrs May's Withdrawal Agreement would have to be the starting point for any compromise to be reached.

"When you look at her deal, that's the only deal that has already been pre-approved by the EU so it has to be the basis for the conversations that happen," the Scottish Tory leader said.

"That's just the kind of way it needs to be in terms of the machinations of this.

"But in terms of a willingness to move, I absolutely agree that there needs to be willingness to move on the Conservative side, as well as the Labour side."

She added: "In order to get a deal through the Commons, there will need to be ground given."

Ms Davidson also said she is not scared of the prospect of a second referendum on Scottish independence but stated her belief one should not be held.

"I'm ready to fight it but I don't think we should have one," she said.

"In fact, I've said all along, I would quite happily never see another constitutional referendum on Brexit or independence in my lifetime because I think these sort of binary questions on complex issues push people into tribes and are damaging for the body politic and for political discourse in this country."

Pic by REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

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