PMQs: Prime Minister rejects plea to work with Nicola Sturgeon on alternative Brexit plan

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Theresa May has rejected a call to renegotiate for a softer Brexit.

Speaking during Prime Minister’s Questions, SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford appealed for her to listen to alternatives to her Brexit deal, but was firmly rebuffed.

Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: PA wire

Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: PA wire

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon met opposition leaders to try and forge a softer Brexit option on Tuesday, before meeting Mrs May to urge her to change course.

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Mr Blackford said: “The First Minister made it clear there are other alternatives to her Government’s Brexit plan. Was the Prime Minister listening?”

Mrs May said “of course” she had heard Ms Sturgeon, but she would not be acting on her advice.

She said: “The First Minister’s alternative is for the UK to stay in the single market and stay in the customs union and that is what we will not do.”

Mr Blackford said the situation was “exasperating” because the SNP’s alternative “at least has support in this place”.

He referred to a UN report on poverty, highlighting how up to a quarter of people in the UK were living in poverty, and asked why Mrs May did not “recognise the scale of the challenge that Brexit is only going to make worse”.

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He added: “For once start to listen - go back to Brussels, recognise we all have an interest in this.

“Let’s all work together to make sure we protect the interests of people in Scotland and elsewhere in the UK.

“Let’s make sure we go back and negotiate, let’s keep us in the single market and customs union.”

Mrs May said it was the SNP that needed to listen to the people who had voted for Brexit and against independence.

She said: “He says let’s work together on this issue but the position he and his party have would frustrate the will of the British people in relation to leaving the EU.

“He talks about protecting jobs and that is exactly what the deal we’re proposing does.

“He talks also about listening - well perhaps the SNP should listen to the people of Scotland who gave a very clear view that Scotland should remain in its most important economic market, the internal market if the UK.”