Scotland could choose a '˜different future' to Brexit

Nicola Sturgeon has said a different future for Scotland is more likely following the Prime Minister's announcement the UK will leave the European single market.

Wednesday, 18th January 2017, 7:51 am
Updated Wednesday, 18th January 2017, 7:57 am
British Prime Minister Theresa May delivers a speech on the government's plans for Brexit at Lancaster House. Picture; Getty

The First Minister said ­yesterday: “It seems the Westminster government now think they can do anything to Scotland and get away with it. They must start to understand how wrong they are.

“The UK Government ­cannot be allowed to take us out of the EU and the ­single market, regardless of the impact on our economy, jobs, living standards and our reputation as an open, tolerant country, without Scotland having the ability to choose between that and a different future.

“With her comments today, the Prime Minister has only succeeded in making that choice more likely.”

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Ms Sturgeon also called for “serious engagement” on Scotland’s proposal to be allowed to remain in the single market even if parts of the UK leave.

She said there is no evidence that proposal, or the rest of the Scottish Government’s plan on the country’s future in Europe, had been considered, and she added that must change in “short order”.

Ms Sturgeon added: “For all her warm words, it is now clear the UK is heading for a hard Brexit, which threatens to be economically catastrophic.

“Decisions are being driven not by the rational best interests of the country, but by the obsessions of the hard-right of the Tory party.”

Scotland voted to remain in the EU by 62 per cent to 38 per cent. Immediately following the Brexit vote the First Minister said that a second Scottish independence referendum was “more likely”.

The Scottish Conservatives and Scottish Labour have called on the First Minister to rule out a second independence referendum, while the Scottish Greens said such a vote now looks “unavoidable”.

Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said: “Ever since the Brexit vote, the SNP has tried to use the result as an excuse for holding a divisive second referendum on independence.

“It has failed to persuade people in Scotland of that case. Now the UK Government has spelled out this plan of action, that case has collapsed altogether.

“There is no justification whatsoever for that threat to be maintained. Nicola Sturgeon should now rule a second referendum out and work to get the best deal out of Brexit for all of us across the UK.”

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said Mrs May’s speech was a plan for a “more insular nation” which would increase divisions in the UK.

She said: “Once again the Tories have put the union at risk by furthering the sort of divisions the SNP thrives on. The wrong reaction to this speech would be to call for another referendum on independence.”

Scottish Greens external affairs spokesman Ross Greer said Mrs May’s speech was “confused, contradictory and dangerous”.