Scottish Tories deny claim party could back second Brexit vote

Jackson Carlaw denied the plans. Picture: John Devlin
Jackson Carlaw denied the plans. Picture: John Devlin
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The Scottish Conservatives have dismissed suggestions they are preparing to back calls for a second EU referendum.

An article published yesterday by the New Statesman claimed the party could support a so-called People’s Vote as an alternative to a no-deal Brexit.

It quoted a source saying: “No deal would be disastrous and jeopardise the union so we will reluctantly have to go back to the country and ask them.”

But the party’s deputy leader, Jackson Carlaw, tweeted that the claims were “complete and utter b******s”.

“On behalf of Ruth Davidson, I can confirm that neither of us has ever supported an EU ‘people’s vote’,” he said. This remains our unambiguous position (as even a cursory inquiry would have made clear).”

It came as the SNP accused the Tory government at Westminster of “making the case for independence” with its attempt to block Scottish efforts to prepare laws for Brexit.

This week the Supreme Court ruled one section of the Scottish Government’s Continuity Bill – an alternative Brexit Bill – was outside of Holyrood’s legislative power after a challenge by the UK government.
Following the ruling, the SNP’s depute leader Keith Brown said it exposed the “astonishing lengths” the UK government had gone to in a bid to undermine devolution.

Mr Brown said: “With every day that passes, the Tories are making the case for independence.

“The UK government’s behaviour over the Continuity Bill – exposed this week by the UK Supreme Court – shows the utter contempt with which they are treating Scotland.

“With the UK government’s approach to Brexit in complete and utter chaos, it’s no wonder the Scottish Parliament didn’t trust Westminster to prepare our laws for life after Brexit.

“But the astonishing lengths the Tories have [gone to] to tie Holyrood’s hands should shock all democrats.”

He added: “Scotland never voted for Brexit, but we’re having a one-size-fits-all approach imposed on us by a Tory party who simply can’t be trusted.”Tory constitutional spokesman Adam Tomkins responded, saying: “This is an astonishing assertion from the SNP and one that is demonstrably false.

“The Supreme Court ruled, conclusively, that the SNP’s Continuity Bill was largely incompetent. Once again the SNP demonstrates that it cannot accept a verdict it disagrees with and will use any tactic to push for independence.”