Ruth Davidson has been challenged to give a “cast-iron guarantee” that Scottish Tory MPs will vote to block a no-deal Brexit, as the SNP increased the pressure on the Scottish Conservative leader who has said she is fundamentally opposed to leaving the European Union without a deal.
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford yesterday wrote to the Scottish party leader demanding she ensures her MPs vote “as a bloc to protect Scotland’s interests” when the Commons returns after recess.
Mr Blackford’s letter was sent the day after she met with new Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and said she had been reassured by his claim that it was his aim to “leave the European Union with a deal”. However Mr Johnson has re-affirmed that he is stepping up preparations to leave on October 31 without one.
Yesterday, Mr Blackford said Scottish Tory MPs had voted for a no-deal Brexit on every occasion it had been put to the Commons, and said Ms Davidson had “repeatedly flip-flopped on Brexit”.
He said that despite voting Remain, she had shifted her position until she had ultimately backed former Prime Minister Theresa May’s deal, throwing into doubt her claim to be wholly opposed to a no- deal Brexit.
He added: “Ruth Davidson must give a cast-iron guarantee that Scottish Tory MPs will vote to block a no deal Brexit – or it will be clear her words are just empty rhetoric.
“Tory plans to drag Scotland out of the EU against our will, “come what may”, would be devastating for Scotland – threatening to cause a recession, destroy 100,000 Scottish jobs and cost every person in the country £2,300 a year.
“Ms Davidson once claimed Scottish Tory MPs would vote as a bloc to protect Scotland’s interests – but nothing could be further from the truth. Every time they have had the chance to prevent a no-deal disaster they have instead voted for it.
“Given all the flip-flops and U-turns Ruth Davidson has performed on Brexit, people are understandably sceptical that her opposition to a no-deal is just another cynical PR exercise – and she will continue to accept whatever form of Brexit is imposed on Scotland.
After her meeting with Mr Johnson on Monday, Ms Davidson said she backed him “wholeheartedly” in his aim to get a new deal. Yesterday a Scottish Conservative spokesperson said: “We’re not going to jump ahead 15 stages or deal with hypotheticals – everyone’s focus is getting a deal done with the EU that can get through parliament.”