LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Theresa May will take her Brexit sales pitch to Scotland on Wednesday, where she will likely face an uphill struggle to convince sceptical voters of the benefits of her deal for businesses and the fishing industry.
May is trying to drum up backing for the exit deal she has negotiated with Brussels in the hope of triggering a groundswell of support from businesses and citizens that will push lawmakers from across the political spectrum to drop their opposition.
“It is a deal that is good for Scottish employers and which will protect jobs,” she will say, adding that the accord created a new free trade area defining an “unprecedented economic relationship that no other major economy has.”
“At the same time, we will be free to strike our own trade deals around the world – providing even greater opportunity to Scottish exporters.”
May needs to win a vote in parliament on Dec. 11 to approve her deal but that looks difficult with an apparent large majority of lawmakers – including the Scottish National Party which has 35 of Scotland’s 59 seats in parliament – opposed to it.
The Brexit deal is likely to be a tough sell in Scotland, which voted 62 percent in favour of staying in the European Union at the 2016 referendum, and is concerned about diminished access to export markets, trading away fishing rights and the loss of the devolved decision-making powers it currently has.
The Scottish leg of her tour follows visits to Wales and Northern Ireland on Tuesday in which she met businesses, community and faith leaders, and local politicians, while lawmakers in London continued to criticise her deal.
(Reporting by William James; editing by Stephen Addison)