Remaining in EU still firmly on the table: Blackford
Remaining in the EU is still “firmly on the table” after MPs failed to back any of the Brexit options presented to them, the SNP’s Westminster leader has said.
Ian Blackford said that Parliament has now resoundingly rejected leaving the EU either with Theresa May’s deal or with no deal.
All the proposals put forward for “indicative” votes were rejected at Westminster on Wednesday evening, although the process indicated significant support for a second referendum and a customs union.
The Revoke Article 50 to avoid no deal motion tabled by SNP MP Joanna Cherry was defeated by 293 votes to 184, a majority of 109.
Mr Blackford said that Scotland has been ignored throughout the Brexit process and that the only way to protect the country’s interests is with independence.
He said on Wednesday: “The SNP used our votes tonight to protect Scotland’s place in the EU, and to reject any proposal that would drive us out.
“Parliament has resoundingly rejected leaving the EU with Theresa May’s bad deal, with no-deal, and under other hard Brexit options.
“It is clear that remaining in the EU is an option that is firmly on the table – with a second EU referendum being the most popular option of all, and a substantial number of MPs recognising that revoking Article 50 is the right way to prevent a Brexit disaster.
“Parliament has taken initial steps towards building consensus. In the coming days, we will continue cross-party discussions to find a way forward – including whether proposals on the single market and customs union, which currently fall short, can be strengthened.”
He added: “Scotland has been ignored throughout the Brexit process. We did not vote for Brexit and we should not be dragged out of the EU against our will.
“Whatever happens now, it is clear that the only way to properly protect our interests is with independence.”
Paul Sweeney, Labour MP for Glasgow North East, tweeted: “We stand against a damaging Tory Brexit and catastrophic no deal. A consensus could potentially be constructed on possible deals from Monday onwards but it is crucial the British people have the final say in a confirmatory vote.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Theresa May said she will stand down as Prime Minister before the next phase of Brexit negotiations.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that if Brexit ends up being forced through on the basis of a deal that no-one supports, it will “make an already bad project even worse.”
She said: “For Scotland, this raises the prospect of being shackled to a disastrous Brexit driven by a Tory party lurching even further to the right, with a Brexiteer PM in charge – further reinforcing the case for our country taking its future into its own hands.”
Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay said: “The results of the process this House has gone through today strengthens our view that the deal the Government has negotiated is the best option.
“It is the Government’s firm wish to get the Withdrawal Agreement approved by this House, and I urge all members, no matter the view on what the future relationship should be, if you believe in delivering on the referendum result by leaving the EU with a deal, then it’s necessary to back the Withdrawal Agreement.”