Sturgeon warns May and Corbyn not to ‘cook up’ bad Brexit deal in private

Scotland’s First Minister has warned against Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn securing a “cobbled together, behind closed doors, least worst compromise” in Brexit talks.

The Prime Minister and Labour leader are meeting for a second round of talks aimed at resolving the Westminster stalemate after MPs rejected Mrs May’s Withdrawal Agreement three times.

Ms Sturgeon held talks with both of the party leaders in London on Wednesday.

The UK is due to leave the EU on April 12, with no deal yet in place.

Speaking at First Minister’s Questions at Holyrood, Ms Sturgeon said: “It think it is absolutely vital, given the mess that this process has become, that what we don’t see is a cobbled together, behind closed doors, least worst compromise cooked up between the Prime Minister and the leader of the Opposition.

“Far better now to request a long extension from the EU, to fight the European elections – to make that possible – by all means, then, to allow the Commons to come up with what a compromise might look like but then ask the people across the UK whether they want to accept a second-best compromise or whether, actually now, given everything we’ve learned over the past three years, they might think the best option now for the whole of the UK is to remain in the EU.”

The First Minister told MSPs: “I am very concerned that a deal may lead to a legally binding Withdrawal Agreement being passed that would irrevocably take the UK out of the EU on the strength of non-legally binding commitments about the future relationship that could be ripped up by a future Prime Minister, perish the thought, such as Boris Johnson.”

Questioned by Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie, she confirmed she wants a People’s Vote to be held “in all circumstances”.

She reiterated criticism of Mrs May and warned Mr Corbyn to be wary.

“She (Theresa May) wants to know where the rest of us are prepared to compromise but I got no sense at all from her, at any stage yesterday, of where she is willing to compromise,” Ms Sturgeon said.

“If the Prime Minister wants to find a compromise, it’s time she starts to set out where she is prepared to compromise.”

Questioned on Scotland’s preparedness for a no-deal Brexit next Friday, Ms Sturgeon said pharmaceutical companies had given the “broad assurance” six weeks’ worth of medicine has been stockpiled.

The Scottish Government’s Resilience Committee is due to meet again on Thursday afternoon but she stressed no amount of preparation could fully mitigate the impact of leaving the EU without a deal.

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard called for Scottish Finance Secretary Derek Mackay to bring his budget back to Holyrood by next week if the Scottish Parliament is recalled from recess by Thursday ahead of a no-deal Brexit the following day.

Ms Sturgeon said Mr Mackay would bring the budget back as soon as possible in that situation but it was unlikely to be next Thursday or Friday.

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