‘Time to stop Article 50’: Scottish politicians react to Theresa May’s Brexit defeat

Nicola Sturgeon has called for a second EU vote
Nicola Sturgeon has called for a second EU vote
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Nicola Sturgeon has reiterated her support for a second EU referendum after Theresa May’s Brexit plan was voted down by her own MPs tonight.

The UK Government’s withdrawl bill was rejected by a majority of 230 in the Commons, plunging the Brexit process into further chaos.

The First Minister said it had been “obvious for months” that such a result was coming. “It is time to stop the Article 50 clock and put this issue back to electorate,” she said in a tweet. “Scotland voted to remain in the EU and we should not be dragged out against our will.”

READ MORE: May’s Brexit deal overwhelmingly rejected by MPs

Mrs May will now face a vote of no-confidence in her government brought by the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, which will be debated on Wednesday.

The Prime Minister said the government would “listen” and return with a new motion on its Brexit deal by Monday, which MPs will be able to amend.

Scottish Conservative interim leader Jackson Carlaw called on those who had voted against the deal to set-out exactly how their alternatives might work.

“This is not the time to walk away, it is the time to work harder so that we can find a way forward over the coming days,” he said.

“Those MPs who opposed the deal this evening should now set out, quite specifically, how their own alternatives might work, how they would respect the referendum, and how they will secure a majority in parliament.

“The fact remains that the only substantial deal on the table, which will avoid No Deal and deliver an orderly Brexit, is the Prime Minister’s plan or something close to it.

“Theresa May will now continue to work to achieve the best way to deliver a withdrawal plan which commands support and I and the Scottish Conservatives continue to back her as she does.”

Lesley Laird, Scottish Labour’s deputy leader and shadow Scottish secretary, claimed a general election was required to break the deadlock.

She said: “Tonight’s vote confirms what we already knew – that Theresa May’s deal is bad for Scotland and bad for the UK.

“The Prime Minister has lost all authority and there is a clear need for a General Election to break the deadlock.

“Labour’s alternative plan for Brexit would protect jobs and workers’ rights, and bring the country together.

“The next Labour government will end austerity, invest in our people, our communities and our industries, and to transform our society so it works for the many, not the few.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: “This is a historic and devastating defeat for the Prime Minister. Her deal is in tatters. So is her credibility.

“With public services at risk, what happens next is too important to be left to an utterly divided Conservative party.

“When she returns to Parliament, the Prime Minister should announce plans for a People’s Vote, giving power back to the British public to decide how they want to proceed.”