Nicola Sturgeon challenges Theresa May to debate on Brexit deal

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Nicola Sturgeon has challenged Theresa May to a debate on the UK Government’s Brexit proposals.

Amid speculation that the Prime Minister could hold a debate with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn before MPs vote on the deal, Scotland’s First Minister called for a full leaders’ debate.

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She tweeted: “I can’t speak for @jeremycorbyn, but I’d be up for a full leaders debate on the ‘deal’. So, how about it PM @theresa_may?”

Ms Sturgeon and Mrs May met last week in London where they had a “full, frank and calm” exchange of views on Brexit.

The First Minister described the latest draft of the Prime Minister’s Brexit agreement as a document which will ask people to “take a blindfold leap off a cliff”.

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Ms Sturgeon said: “I’ve seen today the current draft - it’s not binding, it doesn’t have legal effect and effectively it amounts to the House of Commons being asked to vote to exit the EU without knowing what comes next.

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“That’s asking people to take a blindfold leap off a cliff edge and I have said all along I just don’t think that’s a reasonable or acceptable thing to do.”

A Downing Street spokeswoman said the Prime Minister told Ms Sturgeon the deal on the table is “the best deal that could have been negotiated”.

She said: “The Prime Minister made clear that we are negotiating a deal with the EU that works for all parts of the United Kingdom - Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland - and delivers on the result of the referendum.

“The deal will give Scottish businesses the clarity and certainty they need to protect jobs and living standards, and see us take back control of our waters, improving the fortunes of our fishermen.”

Ms Sturgeon also met all opposition leaders at Westminster last week, and said they were united in planning to vote down Mrs May’s deal, but claimed the next step was to agree on an alternative.