Nicola Sturgeon: Theresa May ‘has a duty’ to drop her red lines

Written by Tom Freeman on 17 April 2019 in News

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is expected to use her speech to STUC to renew calls for a second referendum on Brexit

Nicola Sturgeon speaking at STUC - SNP

Theresa May’s refusal to compromise in Brexit negotiations has been a primary factor in the “mess” of Brexit and the Prime Minister should drop her red lines, Nicola Sturgeon will say today.

the First Minister is expected to use her speech to the STUC conference in Dundee to repeat her call for a second referendum on Brexit, one she hopes would reverse the UK’s decision to leave the EU.

She will also warn it is likely to be impossible to mitigate all the negative impacts Brexit will have on the economy.

Sturgeon is expected to tell delegates: "The EU's decision to offer a further six month extension is hugely welcome.

“However, it places a duty on the UK Government to use this time better than it has used the previous three years.

“In particular, it must drop the damaging red lines that have done so much to cause this mess. Instead, it must talk seriously - with all opposition parties and devolved governments - about what our long-term relationship with Europe could reasonably look like.

“In addition, it should recognise a fact that has become more and more obvious in recent months, and is gaining increasing support.

“Any deal that is arrived at is likely to be very different from what many voters thought they were promised. It should therefore be put to the people again. A second referendum is now the best way of resolving Brexit.

“My hope - although this is in no way guaranteed - is that in a second referendum, the UK as a whole would opt to remain.

“There are many reasons for that. One of them is that any form of Brexit - no matter how soft - will have damaging consequences for people's jobs, living standards and opportunities.

“Those consequences can be partially mitigated - but they cannot be prevented, and no-one should pretend that they can.”

On Monday Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard told STUC conference: “In the coming weeks we will be fighting elections to the European Parliament. So my appeal to you is this; do not allow this election to become a false choice between competing nationalisms: British and Scottish.

“Do not simply be a voter. Be an activist. Join the campaign to defeat the right wing populism of Farage and UKIP, and help build a movement for radical reform and real change in the European Union as part of the Party of European Socialists alliance.”

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