Nicola Sturgeon urges Jeremy Corbyn to abandon "ridiculous position" on Brexit
Nicola Sturgeon accuses Jeremy Corbyn of attempting to “deliberately mislead people” over the prospect of continued single market access after the UK leaves the EU
Nicola Sturgeon - image credit: Liam Kirkaldy
Nicola Sturgeon has accused Jeremy Corbyn of attempting to “deliberately mislead people” over the prospect of continued single market access after the UK leaves the EU.
Releasing the Scottish Government’s analysis on the effect of different Brexit scenarios on Scotland, the First Minister warned that the Labour leader’s “ridiculous position” on single market access was one of the biggest obstacles to forming a cross-party alliance aimed at retaining single market membership.
The Scottish Government analysis, Scotland's Place in Europe: People, Jobs and Investment, found that a hard Brexit would cost Scotland around £12.7bn per year by 2030, up to 8.5 per cent of GDP and the equivalent of £2,300 per person.
Speaking in Edinburgh, Sturgeon outlined plans to form a cross-party campaign aimed at avoiding a hard Brexit, including Tories and Labour members concerned by the prospect of losing single market access.
She said: “Who knows if Theresa May will even be prime minister by the time these negotiations conclude. There are voices within the Conservative Party that would argue for a softer Brexit and for single market membership, but, put that to one side, there is, I believe, a majority, outside of the Conservative Party.
“I think the bigger issue in order to get that majority, is to get Jeremy Corbyn off of the ridiculous position he is in. Either Jeremy Corbyn is still misunderstanding the position of single market, which given how often it has been pointed out to him can’t possibly be the case, or he is trying to deliberately mislead people with this line that you cannot be in the single market if you are not in the EU. I mean Norway stands as the living proof that that is just not the case.
“So the forces within Labour in this direction are getting louder and I believe that majority is there. The House of Commons can, if it chooses to, decide not to allow Theresa May to go down the road that is in her narrow party political interest and instead forge a path that is in the interests of the country overall.”
With the analysis also highlighting the importance of immigration to Scotland’s economy, the FM called on businesses and civil society organisations to come forward in opposition to a hard Brexit.
She said: “To be absolutely candid, I think one of the most important things over these next crucial weeks and months is to hear voices from outside of political and government processes. I don’t have a single conversation with business or civic organisations these days where concerns about Brexit, and concerns particularly over the supply of labour for businesses, if we see a restriction on free movement, are not top of the agenda. These voices now need to come to the fore and be heard.
She added: “If jobs and living standards are the driver here, rather than the internal politics of the Tory party, that [single market membership] is the direction we must go in.”
Speaking in Edinburgh the First Minister will argue that, with immigration essential to maintaining Scotland’s population, “the case for a different approach here is, to my mind, overwhelming”
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