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STV's Bernard Ponsonby grills Theresa May on Brexit deal

Prime Minister grilled on cost of withdrawing from EU during visit to Renfrewshire factory.

Theresa May has been pressed on how Brexit will affect Scotland as she travelled north of the border in a bid to drum up support for her draft withdrawal agreement.

The Prime Minister visited the Scottish Leather Group factory in Bridge of Weir on the same day her government published its own analysis admitting that Brexit - no matter what form it eventually takes - is guaranteed to make the UK poorer.

Nonetheless, Ms May continued to claim the draft deal would be good for the Scottish economy.

She claimed "Scotland's interests have been taken into account throughout the negotiations we've been doing", arguing that leaving Europe gives the UK the chance to negotiate its own trade deals, which could help "iconic Scottish products like smoked salmon and Scotch whisky".

STV's Political Editor Bernard Ponsonby quizzed Ms May on whether her agreement really represented a good deal for Scotland.

Here is a full transcript of the interview.

Bernard Ponsonby: Nicola Sturgeon said yesterday that the deal you have negotiated with the EU will cost every man, woman and child in Scotland £1600. Why should anyone back it?

Prime Minister: The economic analysis that the government has published today shows that the deal that we've negotiated with the European Union is the best deal available for jobs and the economy, that honours the referendum, and also enables us to take advantage of the great opportunities that come from Brexit.

It's a good deal for the UK, it's a good deal for Scotland.

The free trade area with no tariffs, no fees, at the heart of our proposed economic partnership in the future will be good for employers like Bridge of Weir here with those supply chains across Europe.

But the ability to negotiate trade deals around the rest of the world will be good for iconic Scottish products like Scottish smoked salmon and Scottish whisky.

And the deal that we've negotiated means that we will leave the CFP and that will be good for Scottish coastal communities and Scottish fishermen. We'll be in control of our waters. We'll be able to ensure there's a better deal for Scottish coastal communities.

https://stv.tv/news/politics/1433269-uk-government-all-versions-of-brexit-will-make-us-poorer/ | default

BP: Why did the chancellor of the Exchequer on radio this morning say, and I quote, "in purely economic terms there will be a loss"? And this is in reference to all scenarios. Why did he say that?

PM: What we see from the analysis and what the chancellor said this morning is that the deal that we've negotiated is the best one available for jobs and the economy, that honours the referendum, and enables us to open up opportunities -

BP: Why did he make that specific comment on all scenarios, "in purely economic terms there will be a loss"? Why did he say that?

PM: If you look at the analysis, the analysis does not show that we will become poorer than we are today. What the analysis does show -

BP: Why did the chancellor say that on radio this morning?

PM: What the analysis does show is that we will continue to grow as a country. There's a comparison with, if everything else remained equal, which it wouldn't, of course, if everything else remained equal -

BP: I understand all of that, but was the chancellor accurate when he said that on radio this morning - yes or no?

PM: I've just answered that by explaining that what the analysis shows is a set of models for the future against the assumption of staying in the European Union and everything else being equal.

BP: There will be a loss -

PM: That, of course, would not be the future. But when you look at what the future is, which is one of the models, and that's the sort of free trade area, the deal the government's negotiated, membership of the EEA, no deal.

When you look at that, what you see is the deal that delivers best for the economy and for the jobs, and the deal that honours the referendum, and the deal that opens up opportunities for us post-Brexit, for Scotland and for the whole of the UK, is the deal that the government has negotiated.

Conversation: Ms May met with factory staff.
Conversation: Ms May met with factory staff. STV

BP: The shadow chancellor is clearly pushing the Labour party in the direction of backing a second referendum. In the circumstances where a majority of MPs in the House of Commons coalesced around that option, there's nothing you can do constitutionally to veto it, is there?

PM: Well I think what we've heard from the Shadow Chancellor today with his support for a second referendum is that he shows where the Labour party really is on this issue.

The Labour party want to frustrate Brexit, they want to overturn the vote of the British people. I believe it's up to us as politicians to deliver on the vote of the British people.

BP: My question was there is nothing constitutionally you as Prime Minister can do to thwart the will of the Commons if the will of the Commons is for a People's Vote.

PM: When the Commons comes to vote they will be looking at the deal that we have negotiated on Brexit.

What we see from what has been said by the shadow chancellor today is that Labour want to thwart Brexit, they want to frustrate it, they want to overturn it -

BP: They may well want to thwart it. You can't thwart a People's Vote if that's the will of the Commons, can you?

PM: The Labour party want to thwart, want to overturn the will of the British people. I believe very strongly -

BP: Can you thwart - this is a simple question, Prime Minister - can you thwart the House of Commons if the House of Commons says we want a second vote. Constitutionally, you can't, you know that.

PM: What we're looking at here, when we come to a vote in the House of Commons, is a vote on the deal that the government has negotiated, a deal that is good for the whole United Kingdom, that is good for employers in Scotland, that is good for jobs in Scotland, that is good for fishermen and Scottish coastal communities.

That is what people will be looking at. What we've heard from the Labour party today is that they want to overturn the will of the British people.

The British people were given the choice as to whether to stay in the European Union or to leave it. Parliament overwhelmingly gave them that choice.

I believe it's a matter of trust in politicians - it's a matter of trust in politicians that we deliver on that Brexit vote.

https://stv.tv/news/politics/1433231-sturgeon-brexit-deal-could-cost-scots-1600-each/ | default

BP: You will respect whatever the House of Commons decides?

PM: Any questions about a second referendum are not delivering on the vote of the British people and are not showing the British people they can have their faith and trust in us -

BP: Not my question. Will you respect whatever the House of Commons decides? That's my question.

PM: The House of Commons will be looking at the deal that the UK Government has negotiated -

BP: You will respect whatever they decide?

PM: This is a good deal for the UK and a good deal for Scotland. The Labour Party is trying to overturn the vote of the British people. We believe - I believe - in delivering on the vote of the British people and delivering Brexit.

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