Brexit: Sturgeon uses vote defeat to justify Scottish independence push

Nicola Sturgeon has declared Theresa May should ‘hang her head in shame’ at tonight’s Brexit vote defeat as she used the momentous result to incite a fresh push for Scottish independence.

The First Minister reiterated her calls for a second referendum on the UK leaving the European Union as she described the 149-vote defeat of Mrs May’s deal as “entirely predictable”.

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Brexit: Theresa May says MPs must rule on no-deal after defeat

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In an extended statement posted on Twitter, Ms Sturgeon said: “The Prime Minister and the UK Government should be hanging their heads in shame this evening.

“Tonight’s outcome was entirely predictable, and if they had been prepared to listen at any stage and engage constructively instead of simply pandering to Brexit extremists, they could have avoided it.

“Instead we now have a Government that has effectively ceased to function and a country that remains poised on a cliff edge.

“Now that the Prime Minister’s deal has been resoundedly defeated for a second time, what is abundantly clear is that the UK Government and Parliament have been unable to turn the result of the 2016 referendum into a workable or deliverable plan to leave the European Union.

“The votes now scheduled for the coming days will give Parliament the chance to definitely reject the catastrophe of no-deal and to allow more time for a sensible way forward to be found - but the Prime Minister should definitively rule out no-deal, instead of offering a free vote on the issue.

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon

“Ruling out no-deal and extending Article 50 would stop the clock on Brexit and enable another referendum on EU membership to be held.

“We will support any such referendum, provided it has the option to remain in the EU on the ballot paper.

“Scotland’s needs and voice have been ignored by the UK Government throughout the Brexit process, and today a handful of DUP MPs held more sway over Scotland’s future than our own national Parliament - that demonstrates more clearly than ever that the case for Scotland becoming an independent country has never been stronger.

“We will continue to stand up for Scotland and to reflect our nation’s overwhelming vote to remain in the EU.”

Ian Blackford, the SNP Westminster leader, called the vote an “utter humiliation for the Prime Minister”.

He said “we are now in a crisis”, adding: “We must tomorrow remove any prospect of no deal. No-deal would be disastrous.

“There is a real threat to jobs on a massive scale if there is no deal, the threat to the supply of medicines and food.

“We must in the first instance take our responsibilities in getting that risk off the table.”