Brexit: Why SNP must now back Boris Johnson’s deal – Jackson Carlaw

Nicola Sturgeon must back Boris Johnson's new Brexit deal, says Jackson Carlaw. Picture: PA
Nicola Sturgeon must back Boris Johnson's new Brexit deal, says Jackson Carlaw. Picture: PA
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If the SNP really does want the UK to avoid a no-deal Brexit, then their MPs will vote for Boris Johnson’s deal, writes Jackson Carlaw MSP.

Three weeks ago Scottish Conservatives gave our full backing to the Prime Minister as he sought to negotiate and secure a fresh arrangement with our European partners.

We were told by opposition politicians and many others that it would not happen. The SNP were quick to throw all kinds of accusations around about us being naïve and simply toeing the party line – and that the only intention of this UK Government was for a definitive, no-deal Brexit.

But yesterday, Boris Johnson secured a deal supported by the other EU27 countries which allows the whole of the UK to leave the EU on October 31 together and in an orderly way.

Crucially, it allows us all to move on from more than three years of wrangling, uncertainty and confusion.

People right across the UK will be delighted that the end is finally in sight and that, when we do leave the EU, it can now be done in an organised, dignified way which is in the interests of both sides.

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And where does that leave Nicola Sturgeon and her band of SNP MPs?

For all her hype about no-deal Brexits and cliff edges, the deal the country needed has been agreed.

Now the onus is on her, the SNP and all other MPs.

If they genuinely wish to avoid a no-deal Brexit then they must vote for this deal.

Both the SNP and Labour have already squandered three chances to vote for a Brexit deal – it would be unforgiveable if they passed up a fourth.

Ms Sturgeon continually extols the virtues of the European Union. Well, if that’s the case, a deal that’s acceptable to the 27 member states must also be acceptable to her.

That’s unless she has another motive and, as many suspect, she would welcome a no-deal Brexit with open arms because she has calculated that’s the most likely way to drive up support for the break-up of the UK.

After all, the only horse the SNP has in this race – and indeed any race – is the one named independence.

If the SNP, Labour and the Liberal Democrats fail to support this deal then it will be clear to everyone that they have put their narrow party interests, grievances and ambitions over the best interests of the country and the desire of an overwhelming majority to move on.

Jackson Carlaw is interim Scottish Conservative leader and MSP for Eastwood