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Sturgeon says May does not care about Scotland over Brexit

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon speaks at the public Question and Answer event with EU nationals living in Scotland, at the Corn Exchange, Edinburgh, Scotland August 17, 2016. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

EDINBURGH (Reuters) - Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon accused Theresa May of ignoring Scots over Britain’s exit from the European Union after the British Prime Minister indicated that Scotland will not have a veto.

Sturgeon, whose nationalist party is not ruling out a new Scottish independence vote, said on Twitter that May was “going out of her way to say Scotland’s voice and interests don’t matter”.

“Strange approach from someone who wants to keep (the) UK together,” Sturgeon said.

May, who says she will trigger the process to leave the EU by March, has said Scotland’s concerns will be taken into account.

When asked directly if Scotland could have a veto over Brexit, she told the BBC: “The United Kingdom will have a position in the negotiations and we, as a United Kingdom government, will be negotiating with the European Union.”

Scotland, one of the United Kingdom’s four constituent parts, overwhelmingly voted to stick with the EU in June but England and Wales voted out.

The United Kingdom’s devolved parliaments could complicate or slow an EU withdrawal as their remit over such a major change is unclear and there is a convention for giving the assemblies a say on matters that concern them.

British government lawyers have argued there is no need to have the agreement of Britain’s devolved parliaments in Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales for Brexit. The lawyers argue such assemblies do not have any “competence” over foreign affairs which they say is for the UK government to decide.

A spokesman for the Scottish government said on Sunday that it was unlikely Scotland would approve legislation that does not guarantee access to the EU’s single market for goods and services, but it is not clear what say Scotland will have in the process.

Reporting by Elisabeth O’Leary; editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Michael Holden