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Sturgeon has no fears of backlash from pro-Brexit SNP supporters

The First Minister said her party has done the right thing by taking a position on the issue.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said she did not think the party had lost backing from Brexit-supporting voters (Jane Barlow/PA)
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said she did not think the party had lost backing from Brexit-supporting voters (Jane Barlow/PA)

By Tom Eden, PA Scotland

Nicola Sturgeon has said she is not concerned about alienating Brexit-supporting SNP voters by adopting a pro-EU stance in the upcoming General Election.

Scotland’s First Minister claimed the party’s position of backing a confirmatory EU referendum and calling to stop Brexit entirely has not cost them any support.

Ms Sturgeon spoke out as she hit the campaign trail in Dalkeith, Midlothian, where she joined in with a folk band’s rendition of I’m a Believer by The Monkees on her visit to a community centre.

Asked whether she feared the party would face a backlash over its pro-EU stance, after earlier comments that 10% to 12% of SNP supporters also backed Brexit, Ms Sturgeon said: “No I don’t – I don’t worry. In politics, you have to decide what side of issues you’re on – big defining issues.

“You only have to look at Labour to see what happens to parties who try to straddle the fence and aren’t frank with people.

“But however people voted on Brexit, I think people believe that it’s a mess and chaotic.

“Most people I speak to – including the minority in Scotland that voted to leave – actually just want to escape the whole sorry saga.

“So I’m convinced that the right thing to do is be straight with people and honest with people about how we escape that and how we put our future in our hands so we don’t find ourselves in this kind of position again.”

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SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon with Owen Thompson (left), SNP candidate for Midlothian, during a visit to the One Dalkeith Community Hub (Jane Barlow/PA)

Ms Sturgeon also dismissed suggestions a Labour Government could allow another independence referendum after the 2021 Holyrood election, arguing the timing for another vote was an “issue of principle”.

“Whether a referendum happens and on what timescale is not for Labour at UK level to decide, it is for the Scottish people and the Scottish Parliament to decide,” she said.

“This is an election, let the people have their say and see where we are after that.”

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SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon during a visit to the One Dalkeith Community Hub, Dalkeith (Jane Barlow/PA)

With the Liberal Democrats set to take broadcasters to court for excluding the party from TV debates, Ms Sturgeon revealed the SNP had not ruled out legal action.

She said: “We will consider all of our options.

“We’ve written to Sky in the first instance and I hope they take that seriously and I hope they engage with us in that discussion.”

PA

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