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These two are set to go head-to-head over the future of the UK

Scotland and Northern Ireland are staying in the union, Theresa Villiers has said.

pjimage (4) Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers. Source: Andrew Milligan/Dominic Lipinski/ PA Wire

SCOTLAND’S FIRST MINISTER and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland look set to lock horns over the future of the UK.

Speaking in Belfast earlier today, Secretary Theresa Villiers took a definitive stand on the issue.

“EU rules are very clear,” she said, “membership is at member state level.”

No special status

Appearing at an event with Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan, Villiers slapped down the suggestion that part of a country could remain within the European Union.

“The decision has been made, the people of the UK have voted to leave the EU,” the Leave campaigner said.

That decision is going to be respected, that’s what the government will take forward.

This approach rankles with the position reiterated in Europe hours before by Scottish Nationalist Party leader Nicola Sturgeon.

Since the Brexit result last week, Holyrood’s first minister has been on a drive to ensure her country’s continued participation in the EU – be that though a second vote on independence, special status within the European Union, or the annulment of the Brexit result.

Speaking to reporters in Brussels during her trip to drum up support, the first minister said that an “initial series of meetings” had taken place, and stated once again that Scotland “doesn’t want to leave the European Union”.

President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker said that while he is willing to hear Sturgeon out, it was not his position to start interfering with “the British process”.

That email 

Another major post-Brexit talking point today centred on an email from Michael Gove’s wife Sarah Vine accidentally sent to a member of the public.

Britain EU Michael Gove arriving at 10 Downing Street on London Source: Matt Dunham/PA Wire

In the letter intended for her husband and his advisers, Vine – a Daily Mail columnist – outlines her concerns with a potential Johnson leadership and what it would mean for her husband.

The email, seen by a number of news outlets including the Guardian, states:

One simple message: you MUST have SPECIFIC from Boris OTHERWISE you cannot guarantee your support.

She also says that she Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre and tycoon Rupert Murdoch would have difficulties backing Johnson without Gove.

Read: We shouldn’t be asking why people voted to leave the EU, but why would people vote to stay

Also: British businesses warned against weaseling out of refunding Irish customers

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