Nicola Sturgeon to unveil ‘common sense’ Brexit plans

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A “common sense” alternative to the UK Government’s Brexit plans is to be set out in a new Scottish Government paper, Nicola Sturgeon has revealed.

The publication, due out on Monday, will reinforce the case for continued membership of the single market and customs union, Scotland’s First Minister said.

It will also argue that the UK Government’s “false choice” between a “bad, possibly blindfold” Brexit deal and a no-deal scenario should not be accepted.

The release of the paper will come as the First Minister gives a speech at the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) in London on Monday.

Nicola Sturgeon
The First Minister will give a speech in London (Jane Barlow/PA)

“As things stand, we still have no guarantee of a transition agreement or a detailed proposition setting out the future trading relationship between the UK and EU.

“The UK Government seems intent on presenting a false choice between whatever bad, possibly blindfold, deal they manage to conclude and a no deal scenario.

“However, the Scottish Government will this week set out our common sense, workable alternative and make clear why we believe there is now an opportunity to seize an alternative path.”

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

Ms Sturgeon said her administration has a duty to work to ensure that vote is respected.

She said: “It is not too late for public duty and calm heads to prevail and for a no-deal or bad, possibly blindfold, deal outcome to be averted.

“MPs and the wider public should not accept the false choice that is being presented – there is an alternative, and our proposals are the only way to truly protect our businesses, people and communities from the worst effects of Brexit.

“Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU, and our duty as a government is to work as hard as we can to ensure that vote is respected and for Scotland’s key interests to be protected.

“That means staying in the customs union and single market, which is around eight times bigger than the UK market alone.

“With time running short the UK Government must take stock and listen to our proposals which have the interests of the people of Scotland and the rest of the UK at their heart.”

The intervention comes after Ms Sturgeon last month warned that extending the timetable for Brexit negotiations must remain on the table if the UK is to “avoid an economic cliff edge”.

Last week, she closed the SNP’s annual conference in Glasgow with a claim that her party’s goal of independence for Scotland is “clearly in sight”.

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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