MPs should not be ‘railroaded’ into bad or blindfold Brexit deal – Sturgeon

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Nicola Sturgeon will warn MPs should not be “railroaded” into accepting a bad or blindfold deal on Brexit on the grounds that no deal would be catastrophic.

In a speech in London, Scotland’s First Minister will say MPs do not have to fall for such a “false choice” and there are other options.

She will set out an alternative to the Brexit choices being considered by Prime Minister Theresa May during a keynote speech at the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) on Monday.

Ms Sturgeon is expected to say: “The UK Government has spent two years asserting that no deal is better than a bad deal.

“However they will almost certainly try to railroad MPs into accepting a bad or blindfold deal on the grounds that no deal would be a catastrophe.

“They are threatening us with fire, to make us choose the frying pan.

“MPs do not have to fall for that false choice. Other options are available. Voting against a bad or blindfold deal isn’t a vote for no deal. It would be a vote to open the door to a better deal.

“In fact if the UK Government comes back to Parliament with a bad or blindfold deal, voting against it is the only chance the Westminster parliament will have, to re-set the negotiations and think again.”

As part of her speech, the First Minister will launch a new paper from the Scottish Government – Scotland’s Place in Europe: Our Way Forward.

In the June 2016 referendum, Scotland voted by 62% to 38% in favour of remaining in the EU.

Writing in her foreword to the paper, Ms Sturgeon says: “The Scottish Government, in line with the overwhelming vote for remain in Scotland, supports continued EU Membership. Remaining in the EU continues to be our strong preference.

“Nevertheless in December 2016 we set out a compromise plan to keep Scotland and the UK in the European Single Market and Customs Union to limit the damage of Brexit as much as possible.

“It is therefore simply incorrect for the Prime Minister to say that there is no alternative to Chequers.

“In fact, the UK Government’s position is increasingly absurd. Insisting on pursuing proposals they have been told will not work while rejecting a plan that will.”

She adds: “With crucial decisions coming up over the next few weeks and months at EU level – and in the House of Commons where the UK Government must seek the approval of the UK Parliament – it is vital to break the deadlock.

“For the Prime Minister and the UK Government it is time to face reality. For MPs at Westminster it is time to come together in a common sense coalition to minimise the Brexit damage.”

A spokesman for the UK Government’s Department for Exiting the European Union (Dexeu) said: “We will have an ambitious course outside of the EU that enhances our prosperity and security and that genuinely works for everyone across the UK.

“We have put forward a precise and credible plan for our future relationship with the EU and look forward to continuing to engage with the EU Commission on our proposals.”

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