Nicola Sturgeon: Soft Brexit could see SNP put aside push for independence

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 6 January 2017 in News

First Minister said if the UK strikes a deal which allowed for continued access to the single market the SNP could put its push for independence “to one side”

Nicola Sturgeon - credit: Scottish Government

A ‘soft Brexit’, which sees the UK retain access to the single market, could see the SNP temporarily put aside its push for independence, according to Nicola Sturgeon.

Speaking on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland the First Minister said if the UK strikes a deal which allowed for continued access to the single market, and handed Scotland new powers over immigration, the SNP could put its push for independence “to one side”.

The Scottish Government recently published its Brexit proposals, with Sturgeon arguing for the UK to remain in the single market, while outlining options for Scotland to stay in the trade area if the UK pursues a ‘hard Brexit’.


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Releasing the Scottish Government’s strategy paper, Scotland’s Place in Europe, the FM said her preferred option was for Scotland to become a full member of the EU as an independent country, but that the paper would examine a solution that would protect Scotland’s place in the European Single Market from within the UK.

The paper argues for the UK to remain within the European Single Market – through the European Economic Area (EEA) – and within the EU customs union, but also examines how Scotland could remain a member of the European Single Market and retain some key benefits of EU membership even if the rest of the UK decides to leave.

It is also consulting on a draft Referendum Bill.

Asked if a so-called ‘soft Brexit’ would mean the prospect of a second independence referendum being taken "off the table", Sturgeon said: “In terms of the timescale of Brexit, that's what I've been very clear about.

“Am I going to stop arguing for independence or believing in independence? Am I going to stop believing that Scotland is on a journey to independence? No, but we're talking here about the particular context and timescale of Brexit - and I'm putting these proposals forward in good faith. I'm deliberately saying, 'put my preferred option to one side' and asking people if we can find a consensus and compromise option.”

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