FIRST MINISTER SAYS SHE WON’T VOTE FOR DEAL

Kicking for Jackson as Sturgeon says Ireland has been let down by Johnston

Boris at the Clyde Naval Base gathering ammunition for his campaign to keep Scotland in the UK and Nicola Sturgeon and Jackson Carlaw who clashed today at Holyrood in Edinburgh. 

By Bill Heaney

The proposals that were published by the UK government yesterday do not look, at this stage, like they will be acceptable to the European Union, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon claimed in the Scottish Parliament today.

The First Minister was replying to a question from the stand-in Conservative leader, Jackson Carlaw.

He asked that since the deal that was presented by the Prime Minister to the European Union has now attracted support from people who want to leave the European Union with a deal. I would vote for it—why will the First Minister not do so?

In a typically feisty reply, Ms Sturgeon upbraided him: “We found out this week that Jackson Carlaw will vote for whatever Boris Johnson tells him to vote for.

“The proposals that were published by the UK government yesterday do not look, at this stage, like they will be acceptable to the European Union.

“The proposals also seem to break all the promises that were made to Ireland at the start of the Brexit process.

“Aside from all that, the proposals would take Scotland out of the European Union, out of the single market and out of the customs union, all against our will, and they suggest a much looser relationship with the EU—a much harder Brexit—even than that proposed by Theresa May.”

She added: “I will be quite clear, as I have been crystal clear in the past, that I will not support something like that, because Scotland does not support that. If Jackson Carlaw was interested in standing up for Scotland, as opposed to simply standing up for Boris Johnson, he would not be supporting it either.

Mr Carlaw hit back: “Our position is that further dither, delay and uncertainty, and the prospect of Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister—to which the First Minister is disgracefully open—is much more damaging to us all than getting the matter sorted now.

“We are at the 11th hour; there is a need on all sides to compromise if we are going to reach a negotiated settlement. Yet, the record of this Scottish National Party Government has been to fail to do so.

“The First Minister repeatedly says that she will do anything possible to stop no deal, yet, despite three opportunities so far this year, her MPs have never voted for a deal.

“Does she regret not ordering her MPs to vote for a deal when she had the chance?”

Ms Sturgeon rasped: “My alternative to no deal is no Brexit. That is what the people of Scotland voted for.

“All the efforts that I made at compromise, to keep us in the single market and the customs union, were spurned and cast aside by Theresa May.

“I will not support an option that takes us out of not just the EU but the single market and the customs union.

“Jackson Carlaw has no credibility on this, or perhaps on anything else, after the events of this week.

“He has gone from being an enthusiastic remainer to a Boris Johnson-loving, no-deal Brexiteer in what seems like a heartbeat.

“To use the language of the Secretary of State for Scotland, he has brought the Scottish Tories “into line” with his Westminster bosses. In doing so, he has completely abandoned the interests of the Scottish people—shame on him for that.

“No wonder his colleagues now want to get rid of him. I have to say that I thought the Labour Party was the master when it came to getting rid of leaders, but at least it waits until the leader is elected before it tries to oust them. Jackson Carlaw is about to be ousted before he is elected.”

The Tory leader pressed on however: “If the First Minister had the courage of her convictions, she would have voted for a general election several weeks ago and there would have been an opportunity for the issue to have been resolved before 31 October. She had a chance, but once again, her MPs were all talk and no action.

“The Scottish Conservatives welcome the fact that, in the EU and the European Commission, senior figures have not rushed to judgment—unlike the First Minister—and have made it clear that they are prepared to examine the plan in detail.

“We urge both those in Europe and the UK Government to continue their intensive discussions over the coming days. That is the best way to get the matter resolved, rather than the Neverendum that the First Minister supports.

“The truth is—and the First Minister has confirmed it—that the SNP does not want a deal. It is not prepared to respect or implement the result of the referendum; whether it is this deal or Theresa May’s deal, the SNP’s answer is always no. Rather than have yet more delay, is it not time that we got this done?”


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