Nicola Sturgeon is facing pressure to back the Brexit deal agreed by Boris Johnson or risk driving Scotland over the “no deal cliff-edge” she has warned against.
The SNP leader insisted yesterday that her MPs at Westminster will oppose the deal struck in Brussels by UK and EU negotiators.
The alternative now seems likely to be a “no deal” exit after EU President Jean Claude Juncker insisted that no further extension will be granted beyond 31 October. The Scottish Government has warned that the country’s economy would lose up to 80,000 jobs over a decade under this scenario, with GDP 5 per cent lower.
Tory interim leader Jackson Carlaw said Ms Sturgeon’s opposition to Brexit “in any form” is placing “narrow” party advantage over the national interest.
“For all Nicola Sturgeon’s hype about no-deal Brexit and cliff edges, the deal the country needed has been agreed,” he said.
“Now the onus is on her, the SNP and all other MPs. If they genuinely wish to avoid a no-deal Brexit then they must vote for this deal. Both the SNP and Labour have already squandered three chances to vote for a Brexit deal – it would be unforgiveable if they passed up a fourth.
“If the SNP, Labour and the Liberal Democrats fail to support this deal then it will be clear to everyone that they have put their narrow party interests, grievances and ambitions over the best interests of the country and the desire of an overwhelming majority to move on.”
Ms Sturgeon yesterday said Scots had voted against Brexit just as Northern Ireland did in the 2016 referendum. But whereas Northern Ireland has secured a special status which allows it to effectively remain in the EU customs union and single market, Scotland will be out of both.
“What is absolutely clear is that it would take Scotland out of the European Union, out of the single market and out of the customs union against the overwhelming democratic will of the people of Scotland,” the First Minister said.
“Scotland did not vote for Brexit in any form, and SNP MPs will not vote for Brexit in any form – especially when it is clear that Scotland, alone of the nations of the UK, is being treated unfairly.
“We support efforts to ensure peace and stability on the island of Ireland, in line with the Good Friday Agreement, which must be respected.
“At the same time, it cannot be right that Scotland alone is facing an outcome it did not vote for – that is democratically unacceptable and makes a mockery of claims that the UK is in any way a partnership of equals.
“The Brexit envisaged by Boris Johnson is one which sees a much looser relationship with the EU when it comes to issues like food standards, environmental protections and workers’ rights. That is not the future that I or my government envisage for Scotland.” The SNP leader demanded this week that a second referendum on independence is held next year, which would allow Scotland to rejoin the EU.
She added: “In the circumstances which now prevail it is clearer than ever that the best future for Scotland is one as an equal, independent European nation. That is a choice I am determined to ensure is given to the people of Scotland.”
Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie also stepped up calls for a fresh referendum on independence in response to the proposed Brexit deal.
He said: “The people must now be given a say over the future direction of our country; do they want Scotland to be an independent country in Europe, or do they want us to remain shackled to Boris Johnson’s little England.”