Richard Leonard: SNP using Brexit as a “political opportunity”

Scottish Labour Leader Richard Leonard (Picture: John Devlin)
Scottish Labour Leader Richard Leonard (Picture: John Devlin)
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Nicola Sturgeon has used Brexit as a “political opportunity” to divert attention away from devolved issues such as health and local government, according to Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard.

He said the SNP could not be trusted on the issue and could not accept the result of the EU vote.

As MSPs returned to Holyrood today, Mr Leonard also criticised the Scottish Government’s budget, which he said would fail to raise enough money to support public services.

READ MORE: Scotland facing constitutional crisis over Brexit bill

Brexit and the SNP administration’s plans to increase income tax in Scotland are expected to dominate the political debate during the coming months. The government is shortly to release its predictions of the post-Brexit economic impact, as part of a push to remain in the single market.

Ms Sturgeon has called on Labour to unite behind this position, with Jeremy Corbyn’s party facing accusations of being “unclear” on its Brexit stance.

READ MORE: SNP to host Westminster summit on single market membership

Mr Leonard said: “The people of Scotland can’t trust the SNP when it comes to Brexit – it is a political opportunity for the Nationalists to divert attention away from their record in government and towards their obsession with the constitution.

“The Scottish Parliament should be focusing instead on tackling poverty and inequality, growing ­Scotland’s economy and sharing the benefits of that economy.”