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Labour accuses SNP of ‘political grandstanding’ over election push

The Scottish First Minister said it was not clear there was a majority in the House of Commons for a second Brexit referendum.

Lesley Laird and Nicola Sturgeon (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Lesley Laird and Nicola Sturgeon (Andrew Milligan/PA)

By Craig Paton, PA Scotland Political Reporter

Labour’s shadow Scottish secretary has accused the SNP of “political grandstanding” over its joint push with the Liberal Democrats for a general election.

The two parties announced on Sunday they were joining forces in an attempt to push for an election on December 9.

Lesley Laird claims the SNP have shelved their support for a second Brexit referendum, replacing it with a “shady pact with the Lib Dems”.

Responding to a string of tweets from the First Minister, Ms Laird said: “Yet again Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP are misleading the electorate about Labour’s position. This needs to stop.

“Throughout this Brexit debate, the SNP have increasingly said anything for the sake of opportunistic political grandstanding.

“On Thursday Ian Blackford says it’s too dark to have an election in December – just two days later, he’s calling for a general election in December.

“The SNP have said their position is for a public vote on Brexit for two years – and now, when it is within Parliament’s reach, they have abandoned it in favour of a shady pact with the Lib Dems.

“Ultimately this move will probably help deliver what Boris Johnson wants. There is clearly unrest in the SNP ranks and so there should be.

“This is a bad deal for Scotland and the SNP cannot capitulate at such a crucial point.

“Labour’s priority is, and always has been, stopping a catastrophic no-deal Brexit.

“When no-deal is taken off the table, we will campaign in a general election to let the people decide on Brexit in a public vote.

“The Tories want to ditch our relationship with Europe and make Britain a tax haven in hock to Donald Trump.

“The Lib Dems have abandoned their push for a public vote, and want to revoke Article 50 without a vote which will do nothing to resolve the country’s division.

“Now the SNP don’t want a public vote either.

“Only Labour can be trusted to deliver this and resolve the issue once and for all.”

Labour’s priority is, and always has been, stopping a catastrophic no-deal Brexit. When no-deal is taken off the table, we will campaign in a general election to let the people decide on Brexit in a public vote Lesley Laird

On Twitter, the First Minister laid out the reasoning for the joint venture with the Liberal Democrats.

She said: “Firstly, we have to ask ourselves what the alternative is. Doing nothing allows Johnson to get his bad deal through (with Lab support) or, even worse, run down clock to end January when no deal becomes a real risk all over again.

“Re a People’s Vote, I’ve strongly supported that and the SNP would vote for it – but there’s no evidence that the majority for it exists within this Parliament.

“And if there is an extension to January 31, the clock starts ticking again immediately. We have no time to waste.

“For all his bluster, Johnson would much prefer to fight an election with Brexit already ‘delivered’.

“An election now would instead force him to explain his failure to keep his 31 October ‘do or die’ promise and also defend his bad deal.

“To change the course Johnson is taking us on, we need to beat him. I accept that challenge for the SNP in Scotland.

“Other parties have to do the same elsewhere in UK. Doing nothing almost guarantees he gets what he wants, Brexit delivered, possibly through no-deal.”

The First Minister went on to claim the case for a general election in the coming months was “strong”, before reiterating the support of the SNP for a second referendum on Scottish independence.

PA

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