Nicola Sturgeon to set out alternative Brexit plan
Speaking in London the First Minister is expected to urge parliament to stand up to Number Ten’s attempts to “railroad MPs into accepting a bad or blindfold deal on the grounds that no deal would be a catastrophe”
Image credit: David Anderson
Nicola Sturgeon is set to unveil an alternative Brexit plan based around continued membership of the European Single Market.
Speaking in London the First Minister is expected to urge parliament to stand up to Number Ten’s attempts to “railroad MPs into accepting a bad or blindfold deal on the grounds that no deal would be a catastrophe”.
Under Theresa May’s proposed Brexit plan the UK and EU would share a "common rulebook" for goods, but not services.
But although May argues the plan would avoid creating a ‘hard border’ between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, the strategy has faced criticism from both EU leaders and members of her own party.
Meanwhile reports have suggested that both Ruth Davidson and David Mundell could resign over any deal that introduces differential arrangements for Northern Ireland.
In her speech the FM will launch a new paper from the Scottish Government, called “Scotland’s Place in Europe: Our Way Forward”, which will reiterate continued membership of the EU as the Scottish Government’s preferred plan, while also suggesting a “compromise plan” to keep Scotland and the UK in the European Single Market and Customs Union after Brexit.
Sturgeon will say: “They are threatening us with fire, to make us choose the frying pan.
“MPs do not have to fall for that false choice. Other options are available. Voting against a bad or blindfold deal isn’t a vote for no-deal. It would be a vote to open the door to a better deal.
“In fact if the UK Government comes back to Parliament with a bad or blindfold deal, voting against it is the only chance the Westminster parliament will have, to re-set the negotiations and think again.”
She will add: “Remaining in the EU continues to be our strong preference. Nevertheless in December 2016 we set out a compromise plan to keep Scotland and the UK in the European Single Market and Customs Union to limit the damage of Brexit as much as possible.
“It is therefore simply incorrect for the Prime Minister to say that there is no alternative to Chequers. In fact, the UK Government’s position is increasingly absurd. Insisting on pursuing proposals they have been told will not work while rejecting a plan that will.
“With crucial decisions coming up over the next few weeks and months at EU level - and in the House of Commons where the UK Government must seek the approval of the UK Parliament - it is vital to break the deadlock.
“For the Prime Minister and the UK Government it is time to face reality. For MPs at Westminster it is time to come together in a common sense coalition to minimise the Brexit damage.”
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Under the white paper, low-skilled migrants from the EU would lose the automatic right to live and work in the UK