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SNP puts forward plans for Brexit extension and general election

The party has tabled an amendment rejecting Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal, which will go before a Commons vote on Saturday.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (Jane Barlow/PA)
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (Jane Barlow/PA)

By Lewis McKenzie and Laura Paterson, PA Scotland Political Reporter

The SNP wants MPs to back a three-month Brexit delay to hold a general election.

The party has tabled an amendment to Saturday’s motion at Westminster on Boris Johnson’s new Brexit deal.

It calls for the deal to be rejected in favour of an extension to Brexit negotiations until at least January 31 to enable a general election to be held.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford tabled the amendment, and said: “The SNP will never vote for this deal, which would inflict lasting harm on jobs, living standards, public services and the economy.

“It is crucial that opposition parties quit dithering, back our amendment, and finally act to bring this appalling Tory government down and stop Brexit.”

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has already ruled out the possibility of SNP MPs voting for Brexit “in any form”.

Earlier, Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said the Prime Minister’s deal is “great news for Scotland” and urged Scottish MPs to vote for it.

He said: “The deal the Prime Minister has negotiated with the EU is great news for Scotland and the whole of the UK.

“This deal allows us to get Brexit sorted, and leave the EU in two weeks’ time as one United Kingdom.

“It is a real Brexit which ensures we take back control.”

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Scottish Secretary Alister Jack hailed the new deal (Aaron Chown/PA)

Mr Jack added: “We will no longer be bound by EU laws, and the Scottish Parliament will receive a raft of new powers as they return to the UK from Brussels.

“We will be able to strike our own trade deals around the world, opening up huge opportunities for businesses across Scotland.

“It is now time for Scottish MPs from all parties to vote for the Prime Minister’s deal and deliver the result of the referendum.

“It is time to put the national interest above political opportunism. If MPs do not vote for a deal then they are voting for no-deal, and will have to explain that to their constituents.”

Ms Sturgeon said, however, that it would be “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.

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.”

PA

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