Boris Johnson has warned that the prospect of two referendums being staged next year – on Brexit and the EU – will cost taxpayers more than £150 million as he hits the election trail in Scotland.
The Prime Minister will head north of the Border for the Scottish Conservatives’ manifesto launch and has again warned of the danger of a post-election deal between the SNP and Labour which could pave the way for a 2020 referendum double-header.
New research from the Conservatives today shows it will take at least nine months to hold both referendums, costing £138m for the second EU referendum and £17m for the Scottish vote
“A majority Conservative government would get Brexit done and focus on the people’s priorities – such as increasing funding in our NHS and reducing the cost of living,” the Prime Minister said.
“The alternative is Jeremy Corbyn, a man who can’t even make up his mind on Brexit, submitting to a pact with Nicola Sturgeon, and we already know what terms she will demand – another divisive referendum on Scottish independence alongside a second vote on Brexit.
“The financial cost of this to taxpayers up and down the country will be in excess of £150m. But the real cost will be much, much higher: the chaos of two referendums in 2020 grinding the country to a halt and the world’s greatest political union reduced to the status of a bargaining chip.”
A second Brexit referendum would realistically mean a minimum of nine months more delay before being held at the end of August, as opposed to the six months put forward by Labour, the Tory research adds. The Scottish referendum could take place in mid-June.
Paul Robertson, the SNP candidate for Banff & Buchan, said: “We will take no lectures on costs from the Tories given that their disastrous Brexit plans would wipe £9 billion a year from the
Scottish economy by the end of the next decade, compared with EU membership – around £1,600 for everyone living in Scotland.”