BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon accused the British government of lacking “maturity” by withholding diplomatic support for her trip to visit EU officials in Brussels, and suggested it was part of Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s campaign to lead the Conservative Party.
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon delivers a speech on the future relations between Scotland and the EU after Brexit, in Brussels, Belgium, June 11, 2019. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
Asked about the denial of logistical help, Sturgeon told an audience at Brussels’ European Policy Centre on Tuesday that it was among “issues that tell you everything you need to know about the current maturity of governance in the UK”.
Hunt asked Scotland’s devolved executive to run the visit itself because UK diplomats could not support “activities intended to campaign for policies contrary to (the British government’s) position”, a British government spokesman said.
Sturgeon was meeting EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Tuesday to explain her nationalist government’s efforts to have Britain remain in the European Union or at least in its economic area – both in opposition to current British government policy.
She was also outlining her plans to hold a new referendum on Scottish independence – again in defiance of London’s position.
Sturgeon said denying support was “absurd” and showed London was “trying to undermine a devolved government’s efforts to protect the interests of our country”. She added: “There’s