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SNP calls for cross-party opposition leaders’ summit to stop no-deal Brexit

The party’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford has written to his counterparts in the opposition parties.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford wants to block a no-deal Brexit (Andrew Milligan/PA)
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford wants to block a no-deal Brexit (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The SNP’s Westminster leader has urged his counterparts in the opposition parties to join him in a cross-party summit to stop a no-deal Brexit.

In his letter to the Westminster party leaders, Ian Blackford said: “Time is short and we must act to prevent the Prime Minister destroying the futures of citizens up and down the country.”

He wrote to Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn, Plaid Cymru’s Liz Saville Roberts, the Liberal Democrats’ Jo Swinson, Caroline Lucas from the Greens and Anna Soubry from the Independent Group for Change, calling on them to “coalesce against a no-deal Brexit” and the “unmitigated damage” it will cause.

He warned the risk of leaving the EU without a deal has increased after new Prime Minister Boris Johnson refused to rule it out.

We know that any Brexit - particularly a no-deal Brexit - will cause unmitigated damage to our economy and people’s living standards Ian Blackford

Mr Blackford’s call for an urgent summer recess meeting follows Chancellor Sajid Javid’s announcement of an additional £2.1 billion for no-deal planning.

The SNP MP said: “The past three years of Tory Brexit chaos has pushed Scotland and the UK to the brink, and with Boris Johnson ramping up the rhetoric of a no-deal exit there is a very real risk of being pushed over the cliff edge.

“We know that any Brexit – particularly a no-deal Brexit – will cause unmitigated damage to our economy and people’s living standards.

“Time and time again economic analysis has shown that Brexit will be devastating for businesses and public services. The evidence has shown the economic madness of Brexit.

“Rather than acting to prevent such an outcome, the Tory Prime Minister has instead chosen to push ahead by wasting billions of pounds of taxpayers’ cash on an entirely avoidable policy – at the same time as public services are still bearing the pain of Tory austerity.”

Mr Blackford highlighted Scottish Government analysis suggesting leaving without a deal will cost Scots the equivalent of £2,300 each in reduced GDP and independent economic research forecasting 100,000 Scottish jobs being lost in this scenario.

He added: “This cannot go on. I have written to the Westminster party leaders of Labour, Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru, Greens and the Independent Group for Change, calling for a cross-party summit over summer recess to prevent the Prime Minister destroying the livelihoods of citizens across the UK, and move forward with efforts to take no-deal off the table.”

The Government's priority is to ensure we are ready to leave on October 31 and the Treasury are making all necessary funds available for this work UK Government

A UK Government spokeswoman said: “The UK will be leaving the EU on October 31, delivering on the vote of the British people. In doing so we will open up new opportunities for citizens and businesses across the whole of the UK.

“We would prefer to negotiate a deal and we’ve been clear that the anti-democratic backstop must be abolished.

“The Government’s priority is to ensure we are ready to leave on October 31 and the Treasury are making all necessary funds available for this work.”

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