Brexit deal will be devastating for Scotland, says Sturgeon

#Brexit special section Beyond England Daily news

Scotland will be left worse off if the UK government’s draft Brexit agreement is passed by Parliament, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said.

She said the SNP’s 35 Westminster MPs would vote against Prime Minister Theresa May’s deal when it comes before The Commons on December 11.

The withdrawal agreement and political declaration that accompanies it will make Scotland poorer and is ‘quite simply a bad deal,’ she added.

The First Minister made her comments as she published an updated Scottish Government paper outlining why it objected so strongly to the agreement.

The analysis, in a new edition of ‘Scotland’s place in Europe’, says that any new free trade deal would leave Scots worse off by £1600 a year by 2030 compared to staying in the EU.

Business investment in Scotland could also fall by almost eight per cent by the same date, according to the document.

It also said that the ‘backstop’ arrangements being put in place to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic would disadvantage Scotland.

This would bind Northern Ireland more closely to the EU’s single market rules, giving its businesses easier access to the bloc than the rest of the UK.

Ms Sturgeon says this would ‘devastate’ Scottish investment and jobs and has demanded the same arrangements as Northern Ireland as part of the deal.

Her Government’s analysis proved that Mrs May’s proposed deal was ‘unacceptable and damaging’ to Scotland, she said.

“This is a bad deal, which the UK government is seeking to impose on the people of Scotland regardless of the damage it will cause,” she added.

“It will not end uncertainty, it will extend it. We are being asked to accept a blindfold Brexit with all the difficult decisions kicked down the road.”

The SNP leader said the party would revisit the case for Scottish independence once the UK Government’s Brexit outcome is known.

Theresa May has won approval for the deal from the leaders of the 27 EU member states, but faces defeat when it comes before Parliament.

She insists it is the only deal on offer and that the alternative is for the UK to crash out of the EU with no deal.

SNP MPs are expected to join Labour, the Lib Dems and Tory rebels to vote against the deal when the ‘meaningful vote’ is held in a fortnight.

Acting Scottish Conservative leader Jackson Carlaw claimed that Mrs May’s deal has the support of Scottish businesses.

He added that it guarantees many of the things the SNP demanded, including rights for EU citizens living in Scotland and a long transition period.

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