LONDON (Reuters) - The British government’s promises to Japanese carmaker Nissan (7201.T) open the door to a special deal for Scotland if Britain leaves the European Union, Scottish nationalists said on Sunday.
Nissan said on Thursday it would build two new models in Britain, after what a source described to Reuters as a promise of aid from Prime Minister Theresa May’s government to counter any loss of competitiveness caused by Brexit.
On Friday other carmakers asked for help too, while the opposition Labour Party called for more detail about the deal.
On Sunday the Scottish National Party joined them.
“The Nissan deal is a hugely significant concession by the UK government because it shows they are open to the principle of a ‘flexible Brexit’,” Michael Russell, a minister in the SNP-led Scottish government in Edinburgh, said in a statement.
Most Scots voted against leaving the EU, unlike the majority of people in the rest of the United Kingdom, and the SNP wants Scotland to stay part of the EU’s single market even if the rest of Britain leaves.
A British government minister, David Mundell, told Scottish legislators on Thursday that he expected the United Kingdom as a whole would leave the EU single market, but that it would retain tariff- and barrier-free access to the EU.
“David Mundell (said) there would be no special deal for Scotland - but he has been completely undermined by Theresa May’s actions over the Nissan deal,” Russell said. “It can’t be right for the UK government to conclude backroom deals with some specific companies ... while pursuing a course of action that will cost many thousands of Scottish jobs.”
Reporting by David Milliken; Editing by Richard Balmforth