Nicola Sturgeon: UK government's 'subverting' of democracy will end up in courts

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is about to reveal the new Programme for Government
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is about to reveal the new Programme for Government
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Nicola Sturgeon has warned that if the UK government ignores no-deal legislation passed by the Commons, it could trigger legal action.

The First Minister also urged MPs to "stand up and stop a no-deal Brexit" which would be "catastrophic for our economy society for a long time to come".

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland this morning, she said that MPs were "up against someone who's prepared to subvert and bin the normal rules of democracy" and as a result they must "come together, put differences aside, and stop him in his tracks".

Asked about comments made by Cabinet minister Michael Gove which suggested that the government would not abide by legislation passed to block a no-deal exit from the EU, she said: "I can't predict every twist and turn that this extraordinary set of circumstances is going to throw up over the next few days, but if you have a government defying an act of Parliament then I can't see how it would end in any other way than in the courts."

She added that it was "completely and utterly outrageous for a senior government minister to be suggesting the government wouldn't be bound by, and abide by, the law.

"Anyone who, because they support Brexit, is cheering Boris Johnson on, should stop and think how they would feel if a government they didn't agree with was deploying tactics like this to push through a policy they oppose. It's important to focus on how constitutionally unacceptable it would be to have government that ignored the rule of law."

Asked how Brexit could be stopped, the First Minister indicated that several options remain available and outlined her support for a general election.

Ms Sturgeon said: "We've backed a second EU referendum which gives people the opportunity to stop Brexit in its tracks and reverse that decision that was taken.

"I would also support a general election which would give people the opportunity to do that and of course, I want to give Scotland the opportunity of choosing our own future through independence, through which we can try to fashion a future that has Scotland as part of the EU and the broader international community.

"So the point is there are a number of options to stop Brexit. We have to keep all of those options on the table, but given the severity of the situation we face, the priority this week has to be for MPs to come together to stop the no-deal Brexit which would see the UK crash out at the end of October."

Responding to comments made by former prime minister Tony Blair that a snap general election could be an "elephant trap", Ms Sturgeon indicated that people must be able to have their say in the midst of the "constitutional and political emergency" facing the UK.

"I've been very clear I want to keep all options on the table," said Ms Sturgeon. "That's why I've said, as much as I would like a general election, the priority this week has to be to try to pass some kind of no-deal blocking legislation and we will be, as we have been for the past three years, working with others across the political spectrum to do that.

"The polls in Scotland would suggest that the Conservatives would not do well and I do think that when there is such a constitutional and political emergency, because that's what the UK is now engulfed in, then I'm not sure it's a very good idea to argue that people shouldn't have their say in trying to find the right way forward out of that."