Brexit: Jim Sillars says it's "impossible" to vote for pro-EU SNP

Former SNP deputy leader Jim Sillars campaigning with Nicola Sturgeon
Former SNP deputy leader Jim Sillars campaigning with Nicola Sturgeon
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Former SNP deputy leader Jim Sillars has said he won’t vote for the SNP in next week’s European elections because of its stance against Brexit.

The former nationalist MP said his party had an “infatuation” with the EU that would harm the independence movement and damage Scotland’s interests.

Writing in the Sunday Times, Mr Sillars said: “From day one of the Brexit decision, the SNP leadership has alienated hundreds of thousands of independence-supporting ‘leave’ voters in Scotland by immediately seeking to subvert and reverse our vote.”

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Issuing a warning over the impact of staying in the EU on the prospect of independence, he goes on: “The call to vote and stop Brexit makes it impossible for me, who chose to leave, to vote for the SNP in this election. I suspect that goes for many others.

“The irony is that for all the lavish eulogies the leadership has poured on Brussels, and the de facto alliance it struck with the European Commission against the UK government, they have got nothing out of it.

“The EU position made clear in 2014 remains unchanged: there will be no seamless continuation of EU membership on independence; we can apply but we will have to wait in the queue and unanimity, which is code for no Spanish veto, is required.

“This EU position was used against the ‘yes’ movement then, and it will be used against us again if the UK remains in the EU.”

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Mr Sillars concludes that “Leavers are not as stupid as some think”.

“The common fisheries policy would continue, to the disadvantage of the Scottish fishing industry; the rules preventing the 2014 public procurement act from insisting on payment of the living wage would remain; and the next time the CalMac ferries contract comes up for renewal, the workers would again face uncertainty,” he says.

“In short, Scotland's interests would be sacrificed on the altar of the SNP's infatuation with the EU.”