Sturgeon letter to new PM demands ‘essential’ alternative to Brexit for Scotland

Nicola Sturgeon has written to the new Prime Minister saying it is now “essential” Scotland has an alternative option to his Brexit plan.

Boris Johnson went on record repeatedly during his campaign to reach Number 10, which culminated in a landslide victory, that Britain will leave the European Union on October 31 regardless of a deal being agreed.

Again in his first speech at Downing Street after meeting the Queen on Wednesday, he said there were “no ifs, no buts”.

The Scottish First Minister again congratulated Mr Johnson on his appointment, but used her letter to reiterate the case for independence.

Ms Sturgeon said: “I am writing to you today to draw your attention to work carried out by the Scottish Government which details the likely specific impact of Brexit on Scotland.

“Given the gravity of the potential damage to jobs and livelihoods, this material should be at the top of your in-tray.

“You will be aware that people in Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the European Union. Subsequent Scottish Government analysis shows that a no-deal outcome could cost 100,000 Scottish jobs.

“Even a free trade agreement could see a fall in Scottish national income of around £1,600 per person compared with continuing EU membership.

“I urge you to study this analysis closely so that you understand the implications for Scotland of the policy you are pursuing on Brexit and why it is therefore imperative that you change course immediately to avoid causing lasting harm to the people of Scotland.

“However, given your public comments about leaving the EU on October 31 with or without a deal, ‘come what may’ and ‘do or die’, it is now – more than ever – essential that in Scotland we have an alternative option.”

Boris Johnson
New Prime Minister Boris Johnson waves on the steps of 10 Downing Street (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The Scottish Government have published a Bill which could potentially pave the way for a second vote, and Ms Sturgeon has already indicated a referendum could be held in the second half of next year.

But Mr Johnson has made clear his opposition to allowing another referendum when he visited Scotland during the Tory leadership campaign.

In her letter, Ms Sturgeon said: “In line with the democratic mandate given to us in 2016, the Scottish Government will continue to make preparations to give people in Scotland the choice of becoming an independent country.

“The right of the people of Scotland to determine their own future is a basic democratic principle that must be respected.

“Similarly any decision of the Scottish Parliament on whether to give people that choice must be respected.

“The Parliament will consider the necessary framework legislation for a referendum after the summer recess, and I look forward to taking this matter forward with you once MSPs have had the opportunity to debate the issue further.”

1. Congratulations to Boris Johnson on his election as leader of the Conservative Party. Despite our many differences, I will do all I can to develop a way of working with him that respects and protects Scotland’s views and interests.

— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) July 23, 2019

David Mundell was sacked from his role as Scottish secretary as Mr Johnson made wide-ranging changes in his first Cabinet.

Ms Sturgeon also said in her letter she would “be shortly writing to you, along with the First Minister of Wales, to set out jointly our position on a range of urgent matters that require consideration by a meeting of the Heads of Government”.

She added: “Such a meeting should be convened as soon as possible.”

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