Nicola Sturgeon: SNP, Labour and moderate Tories must form ‘a coalition against hard Brexit’

Sturgeon will slam Tory xenophobia in her opening speech to SNP conference


SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon will today call on progressive parties to join forces in opposing a Tory hard-Brexit.

She will make the call on the first day of the SNP’s annual conference in Glasgow.

During her remarks, Scotland’s First Minister will warn that ‘the right wing of the Tory party is now in the ascendancy and it is seeking to hijack the referendum result.’

Dubbing the rhetoric about immigration at the Conservative Party conference last week ‘a disgrace’, she will go on to tell the party faithful:

“They are using it as licence for the xenophobia that has long lain under the surface – but which is now in full view.

They are holding it up as cover for a hard Brexit that they have no mandate for – but which they are determined to impose, regardless of the ruinous consequences.

I suspect that many of those who voted to leave now look at the actions and rhetoric of the Tories and think ‘that’s not what I voted for’.”

The first minister will tell the Conference that SNP MPs will vote against the ‘Great Repeal Bill’ when it comes before the House of Commons, noting that it was not what Scotland voted for in the referendum.

She will also pledge to ‘persuade others — Labour, Liberals and moderate Tories’ — to join with the SNP to form ‘a coalition against a hard Brexit: not just for Scotland, but for the whole UK.’

“The Conservative Party manifesto, on which Theresa May and all other Tory MPs were elected said this: ‘We are clear about what we want from Europe. We say: yes to the Single Market’.

The prime minister may have a mandate to take England and Wales out of the EU but she has no mandate whatsoever to remove any part of the UK from the single market.”

Her remarks follow new polling suggesting that even the prospect of a hard Brexit is not winning Scots around to the idea of a second referendum on independence.

Carried out by BMG for the Herald newspaper, the poll found that 47 per cent of respondents were against holding a second independence referendum, compared to 38 per cent who were in favour. 12 per cent said that they were undecided.

Interestingly, when the prospect of a hard Brexit was added to the equation, just 12 per cent of those opposing a second vote said this would change their mind with 75 per cent saying it would make no difference to their views at all.

Asked about the potential timing of a second referendum, 39 per cent of those in favour said it should be before Article 50 is triggered, 33 per cent said it should be later than this and 28 per cent did not mind when a vote happened.

BMG then sought to provide an overall picture of support for a second referendum by factoring in the question about the potential form of Brexit. This found that 43 per cent supporting a second referendum, 42 per cent did not and 15 per cent were undecided.

Ed Jacobs is a contributing editor at Left Foot Forward

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