SNP Westminster leader ‘doesn’t accept’ early poll could return Tory majority


The SNP Westminster leader has said he does not accept that a general election could return a Conservative majority and a no-deal Brexit.

Ian Blackford said he wants Boris Johnson to be defeated and called on opposition parties to “take on the Brexiteers”.

He said Scotland has the “insurance policy” of being able to have a referendum on Scottish independence, so staying in Europe.

Speaking on BBC Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland radio programme, he initially refused to directly answer questions on whether an early general election could return the Tories to power and lead to the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

Asked if what he was trying to stop with the general election could be the outcome of it, he said: “I don’t accept that.”

He added: “In a situation that this Prime Minister said he was going to do or die, die in a ditch if he didn’t deliver Brexit on October 31, that’s not happening this week.

“This is a Prime Minister that has failed to deliver.

“It’s a Prime Minister that doesn’t have a majority in Parliament.

“He can’t do what he wants to do.

“We’ve got to make sure that this now goes back to the people and the people recognise that what the Prime Minister wants to do is damaging, economically, socially and culturally.

“It’s up to the Labour party and others in England and Wales to do their job in defeating the Conservatives.

“We will do that in Scotland.

“But the simple fact remains that we cannot is that we cannot sit back and allow this Prime Minister take us out of Europe.

“In Scotland, we have got that alternative if the UK is determined to do that, that we have got that insurance policy of being able to have a referendum on independence and making sure that we stay in Europe.”

He added: “We want to see Boris Johnson defeated and out of Number 10.”

Mr Johnson is expected to ask MPs to vote for an early general election for the fourth time, in a vote on the Commons on Tuesday for a December 12 ballot.

On Monday he failed to get the two-thirds majority needed to secure an election under the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act but is expected to publish a Bill requiring a simply majority to pass.

The SNP and Liberal Democrats support an election on December 9, believing it could prevent the Withdrawal Agreement Bill being passed.

Mr Blackford would not reveal how the party planned to vote for on December 12 election, saying he would “wait and see what’s in the Bill”.

Speaking on the same programme Conservative MP Luke Graham said: “I’m not sure why it has to be on the 9th and not on the 12th.”

He added he would not support the SNP and Lib Dem push for a December 9 vote, saying he believes “people would much rather we had a few extra days to get the Withdrawal Bill through”.