Theresa May urged to back single market membership by SNP

The party's Westminster leader Ian Blackford says leaving it will 'devastate' the UK.

Theresa May: The PM has vowed to take the UK out the single market. PA

The Prime Minister has been urged by the SNP's Westminster leader to keep the UK in the European single market in a bid solve the Irish border issue.

Ian Blackford called for a reverse in the UK Government's Brexit policy during Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday after talks between both sides stalled earlier this week.

Theresa May has repeatedly said the country will leave both the single market and the EU's customs zone once it leaves the organisation in March 2019.

Any divergence in trade regulations between Northern Ireland and Ireland, an EU member state, would create a 'hard border' on the island.

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One proposed solution was to align Northern Irish regulations with the rest of the EU while the rest of the UK would be free to set its own trade rules.

That was vetoed by Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Arlene Foster.

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Blackford told the Prime Minister leaving the single market would "devastate our economy and cost jobs" and instead staying in would "resolve" the border problem.

He said: "The clock is ticking and we need a deal that keeps us in the single market and the customs union - to do otherwise will devastate our economy and cost jobs.

"Will the Prime Minister recognise that such a deal will resolve the Irish border question and protect jobs throughout the UK - anything less will be a failure of leadership?"

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May replied: "We are leaving the European Union, that means we will be leaving the single market and leaving the customs union... and we ensure that we can do trade deals around the rest of the world."

She added later in the exchange: "There are particular circumstances for Northern Ireland because it is the one part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with a country that will be remaining in the European Union.

"But as we look ahead and during the negotiations, as [Blackford] will know, we are consulting and talking with all parts of the United Kingdom - with the Welsh Government and the Scottish Government - and we want to ensure that we get the right deal for the UK."

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