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Nicola Sturgeon vows SNP will not back ‘unfair’ Brexit deal

The First Minister said it is ‘democratically unacceptable’ for Scotland to be facing an outcome it did not vote for.

Nicola Sturgeon said Scotland is being treated unfairly (Jane Barlow/PA)
Nicola Sturgeon said Scotland is being treated unfairly (Jane Barlow/PA)

By Lewis McKenzie, PA Scotland Political Reporter

Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed SNP MPs will not back Boris Johnson’s new Brexit deal, as she insisted it will mean Scotland alone is “treated unfairly” when the UK leaves the European Union.

Responding to the PM’s announcement that agreement has been reached with the EU, the First Minister said it is “democratically unacceptable” for Scotland to be facing an outcome it did not vote for.

She said it is now “clearer than ever” that the best future for Scotland is as an independent, European nation.

Scottish Tory leader Jackson Carlaw had urged Ms Sturgeon’s party to get behind the deal, insisting it is “time to get Brexit sorted”.

He tweeted: “If Labour and SNP MPs are against us leaving without a deal, then it’s time to back this one. The country needs to move on. #GetBrexitDone.”

But Ms Sturgeon said: “While there remains uncertainty over whether this proposed deal will pass, 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.

“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.

“And 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.”

Announcing the deal on Twitter, Mr Johnson said: “We will leave the EU’s Customs Union as one United Kingdom and be able to strike trade deals all around the world.

“This new deal ensures that we #TakeBackControl of our laws, borders, money and trade without disruption & establishes a new relationship with the EU based on free trade and friendly cooperation.

“This is a deal which allows us to get Brexit done and leave the EU in two weeks’ time, so we can then focus on the people’s priorities and bring the country back together again.

“This new deal takes back control. Under the previous negotiation, Brussels maintained ultimate control and could have forced Britain to accept EU laws and taxes for ever.

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Nicola Sturgeon said the SNP will not vote for Brexit in any form (Duncan McGlynn/PA)

“We will leave the EU’s Customs Union as one United Kingdom and be able to strike trade deals all around the world.”

Mr Johnson added that the “anti-democratic” backstop has been abolished.

He tweeted: “The people of Northern Ireland will be in charge of the laws that they live by, and – unlike the backstop – will have the right to end the special arrangement if they so choose.”

Labour MP Iain Murray insisted there should be a confirmatory referendum on the deal, with voters given the chance to choose between it and staying in the EU.

The Edinburgh South MP said: “Brexit is far from a done deal. The problem with any agreement isn’t just the impact on Northern Ireland, it’s the catastrophic economic impact for the entire UK, which will hit the most vulnerable the hardest. There is no such thing as a good Brexit deal.

“If Boris Johnson believes this is the will of the people, he should have the courage to let the public decide in a confirmatory referendum.

“The best way to solve this constitutional crisis is to give people a final say on Brexit, and I will be campaigning tirelessly to keep the best deal we already have by remaining in the EU.”

Scottish Green co-convener Patrick Harvie said Scots should be given the chance to have their say on the “future direction of our country”.

He argued the public should be asked “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”.

PA

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