MPs being asked to endorse ‘blindfold Brexit’, says Sturgeon

By Lucy Christie, Press Association Scotland
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MPs being asked to endorse ‘blindfold Brexit’, says Sturgeon

Scotland’s First Minister said the SNP at Westminster would vote against the draft agreement.

Nicola Sturgeon has said SNP MPs will vote against the Prime Minister’s EU withdrawal plan, and she hopes to sit down this week with Labour and others to formulate an alternative.

Scotland’s First Minister told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show the draft agreement lacked clarity on the UK’s future relationship with the EU, and the Commons was going to be asked to endorse a “blindfold Brexit”.

Outlining what she said were potential alternatives, Ms Sturgeon said: “If the House of Commons says we want to go down the road of single market and customs union membership, we want more time to take this back to the people of the UK in another vote, we need an extension of Article 50 – if there is a clear change of direction – then I believe the EU 27 would be prepared to look at that.

“But that means those who don’t want this deal coming together.

“Those who don’t think the Prime Minister’s deal is the right way to go have now a responsibility to come together and coalesce around an alternative.

“I will seek to have discussions this week with other parties to get us into that position.”

The First Minister said she was keen to talk to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn “and whoever else” in the House of Commons when she visits London in the coming days.

Asked if she was going to call for a second vote on Scottish independence now details of the withdrawal agreement were clear, she said it was reasonable to see what happened in the Commons before setting out the next steps for Scotland.

Pressed further by Mr Marr, Ms Sturgeon said: “I’ll come on and talk to you about that as soon as I make that statement, but that will be in the not-too-distant future, but we’ve got chaos reining at Westminster just now.”

Kirstene Hair, Scottish Conservative MP for Angus, said: “The very last thing Scotland needs now is uncertainty piled on uncertainty. Nicola Sturgeon should dump her unwanted threat for a second referendum, now.

“We now face the dangerous prospect this week of Nicola Sturgeon and Jeremy Corbyn stitching up their own deal.

“Labour should sup with a very long spoon. The SNP’s only plan is to push for independence and they will do everything and anything to make that bring that closer.”

Pamela Nash, chief executive of Scotland in Union, said: “At a time like this, she should remember that she represents everyone in Scotland, and the majority of people in Scotland have consistently told her they don’t want another independence referendum.

“Our trade with the rest of the UK is worth four times our trade with the EU, and it makes no sense to hurt our economy and walk away from our friends and allies across the UK.”