SNP calls on May to compromise
Scotland voted heavily against leaving the European Union last June.
Prime Minister Theresa May still has time to reach a compromise deal with Scotland that could avoid an independence referendum, a Scottish National Party leader has said.
Angus Robertson MP said the SNP’s first priority was to protect Scottish membership of the European single market.
“There may only be days, may only be weeks, but where all of our efforts are currently focused is trying to convince the UK government to come to a compromise agreement protecting Scotland’s place in Europe,” the most senior SNP member of the House of Commons said.
“If that road runs out and if we have to have that referendum, we will be turning our attention to making sure that we are making the case publicly, intellectually and in every other way so people understand the choice of a hard Tory Brexit Britain or a Scotland able to maintain its relations with the rest of Europe.”
Robertson said May must act now or risk losing Scotland.
“If the UK government genuinely believes in a United Kingdom [it has to] take the needs, interests, concerns of the different parts of the UK seriously.
“The Tories are boxing themselves into a very dangerous corner. For a party that claims to be a unionist party they are making it very difficult for people in Scotland, who are not traditionally SNP voters, to look to the future of a Tory-run Britain and accepting that as our best way forward.”
Meanwhile, the Daily Telegraph said that the SNP would consider taking a softer line on membership of the EU and instead try to join the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), whose members include Norway and Iceland.
Ruth Davidson, the Conservative leader in Scotland, dismissed the remarks: “These are surreal comments. How can he say the SNP is focused on negotiations with the UK government when Nicola Sturgeon has just broken off those talks to unilaterally declare another divisive referendum on independence?
“Everyone knows where the SNP has invested all its attention since the EU referendum – in trying to break up Britain.”
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon suggested that she might delay a Scottish independence referendum, on the heels of the 2014 campaign, until after Brexit was completed, in the hope of a deal with the prime minister.
Scotland’s first minister said she could stage a referendum after the UK’s departure from the bloc if more time was needed to confirm the precise terms of any Brexit deal. Sturgeon said there was a “cast-iron mandate” for a repeat of the divisive 2014 referendum.
Sturgeon added: “And the vote must take place within a timeframe to allow an informed choice to be made – when the terms of Brexit are clear but before the UK leaves the European Union, or shortly afterwards.”
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