End of Labour in Scotland if they vote for Brexit deal – Nicola Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon has warned that if Labour votes for the Prime Minister's Brexit deal then the people of Scotland will never forgive the party.

The First Minister said she suspects that Labour MPs will allow the deal to pass, and warned of the consequences for the party if it becomes "the handmaidens of Boris Johnson's Brexit".

Ms Sturgeon said final decisions on how the SNP plans to vote will not be taken until Saturday morning.

In a briefing with reporters in Westminster on Friday, Ms Sturgeon said: "My growing suspicion today is that Labour will allow Boris Johnson to get his deal over the line tomorrow.

"Now I hope I'm wrong about that, but I'm simply surmising from what I'm hearing, you know piecing things together, it seems to me that it is possible we have a situation where Labour have an official position of opposing this deal, but are giving nods and winks to the so called Labour rebels in the hope that there's enough of them that allow it over the line."

She added: "I can't speak for the rest of the UK, but in Scotland, I don't think Labour would ever be forgiven for that.

"They're not in the healthiest of positions anyway, but I think it would be the end for Labour in Scotland if they turn out to be the handmaidens of Boris Johnson's Brexit."

Ms Sturgeon dismissed the idea that an extension had been ruled out by the EU, adding: "Theresa May tried this, to sort of bully MPs into seeing it as a choice between her deal and no deal.

"It was a false choice then and it's a false choice now.

"The alternative to this deal tomorrow is the Benn Act, which would require an extension request.

"That's the law of the land.

"So anybody who says that it's a choice tomorrow between this deal and no deal is frankly not being straight with people."

Talking about her own party's plans ahead of the vote, she said: "We will ultimately vote against this deal, but we would be sympathetic to voting for something that would make sure it doesn't go through tomorrow."

Ms Sturgeon said: "We will never vote for anything that approves the deal but we would not stand in the way of a vote for a second referendum."

She added: "I don't think this is a good deal for Scotland. I think it's a worse deal than Theresa May's.

"It takes us out of the EU, out of the single market and out of the customs union.

"All of that is against our will.

"It opens the prospect, some may say the probability, of a very hard Brexit at the end of a transition period, a hard Brexit that may be tantamount to a no-deal Brexit at that stage.

"And it puts us at a competitive disadvantage with Northern Ireland in the future, and it leaves us as the only part of the UK with no say over our future relationship with the EU.

"England and Wales voted to leave, Northern Ireland voted to remain but is to have a say over how closely it remains aligned.

"Scotland would be the only part of the UK that has none of that."

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