Ruth Davidson has backtracked on her support for Theresa May’s ‘walk away’ threat on any Brexit deal from the EU. The Scottish Conservative leader told ITV’s Robert Peston she would not support the UK “falling out on WTO rules”.
Davidson was responding to a question from the ITV presenter who had asked if it was possible there would be an EU relationship policy she could not support. Responding, Davidson said: “Certainly, falling out on WTO rules would not be something that would be in the benefit [sic] of my constituents here in Edinburgh or in the country as it is.”
Under WTO [World Trade Oraganisation] rules, each member must grant the same ‘most favoured nation’ market access, to all other WTO members. This means that UK exports to the EU would be subject to customs checks, tariffs and regulatory barriers.
However Davidson’s refusal to back a ‘No Deal’ scenario is at odds with comments she made in a TV interview broadcast during the 2017 General Election campaign. Speaking on STV at the time, she insisted that walking away from EU talks with no deal was something the Prime Minister absolutely had to be prepared to do.
Davidson told STV’s Bernard Ponsonby: “If you’re going into a negotiation … you have to absolutely be prepared to say that you will walk away.”
Asked to clarify what a ‘No Deal’ would look like, Davidson replied: “I guess that means WTO accords.”
The video clip below shows the Scottish Conservative Leader making her statements in 2017 then in 2018.
Davidson’s initial backing for May’s threat to walk out of EU talks without any deal followed news reports that the Prime Minister was prepared to do just that.
Her apparent U-turn on the stance follows several similar U-turns on Brexit since the 2016 EU Referendum result was announced.
In January this year, her political rivals released a video highlighting many of her so-called ‘flip-flops’.
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