No deal without single market, customs union membership, Sturgeon says


Nicola Sturgeon has said she will reject any Brexit deal from the UK Government short of retaining permanent membership of the single market and the customs union.

The First Minister said the Scottish Government would not give its support to any proposals which did not offer either of those provisions.

Holyrood voted 66 to 28 on Wednesday in favour of having a People’s Vote on Brexit.

Speaking at First Minister’s Questions, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie asked the First Minister whether she would support any deal put forward which proposed the UK remaining in the customs union for an unspecified period.

He said: “Momentum is building for the British people to have the final say to save us from the economic damage that will come with Brexit.

“The First Minister has previously talked of compromising with the UK Government – the backstop could involve the whole of the UK remaining in the customs union for an unspecified time.

“Can the First Minister clarify if that is enough for her to support the deal? I hope she rejects it and opposes everything but a People’s Vote.”

Ms Sturgeon responded: “That wouldn’t be enough for me to give my support to that deal.

“I make no apology for trying to compromise in the interests of the Scottish people, but the absolute bottom line for me, for the Scottish Government, for my party, would be permanent, unequivocal membership of both the single market and the customs union.

“That said, I would prefer that we stayed in the European Union as full members. I would prefer that Scotland was in the European Union as full, independent members of it.”

The First Minister also indicated that SNP MPs would support holding a People’s Vote on Brexit if a vote on the matter was put forward in the House of Commons.