Brexit ‘boosts case for Scottish independence’

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    Ian Blackford at conferece
    Image caption Ian Blackford told the SNP conference that Brexit was a “democratic outrage”

    Brexit is a “democratic outrage” which is boosting the case for Scottish independence, the SNP’s Westminster leader has told the party’s conference.

    Ian Blackford opened the second day of the party’s conference in Glasgow.

    He told delegates that the Conservative government was “completely in thrall to the hardline Brexiteers”.

    And he said Brexit was “crystallising the case for Scotland having full control over its own affairs” via independence.

    SNP members have gathered in Glasgow for the three-day event, which will climax with a speech from party leader and first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, on Tuesday.

    Monday’s schedule includes policy debates on child tax credits, international trade and nuclear weapons and speeches from Ms Sturgeon’s party deputy Keith Brown and her deputy first minister, John Swinney.

    Mr Blackford’s speech focused on constitutional issues, hitting out against Brexit while promoting the cause of Scottish independence.

    The UK is due to leave the EU in March, but the SNP highlight the fact that voters in Scotland backed remain by a margin of 62% to 38%.

    The MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber said: “Time and time again, the SNP and others have fought to ensure that Scotland’s remain vote is respected in the EU negotiations – but the Tory cabinet is completely in thrall to the hardline Brexiteers who could not care less about jobs, living standards and public services in Scotland.

    “The democratic outrage of Brexit is crystallising the case for Scotland having the full control over its own affairs.

    “With the full powers of independence we can ensure that Scotland’s enormous human and natural resources can make Scotland the fair and prosperous nation that it deserves to be.”

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    Media captionSturgeon: SNP MPs would back new Brexit vote

    In June, Mr Blackford was ejected from the Westminster chamber while protesting against what he called a “power grab” in UK Brexit legislation, sparking a walkout of SNP members.

    Referring to this at a fringe meeting on Monday evening, he said SNP MPs would use “any means necessary” to oppose a bad Brexit deal when MPs have a “meaningful vote” later in the year.

    He promoted the idea of another Brexit referendum – the so-called “People’s Vote” – as a viable “alternative” to having a bad deal or no deal at all.

    His views have been backed up by the first minister, who has said SNP members would “undoubtedly” vote in favour of a fresh referendum.

    Ms Sturgeon told the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme: “If the opportunity arises to try to reaffirm Scotland’s vote in 2016 to remain in the EU, then we would take that opportunity.

    “But another UK-wide vote doesn’t solve the fundamental problem that Scotland faces which is, no matter how we vote, we end up finding change imposed on us against our will.

    “The only answer to that conundrum, of course, is for Scotland to be independent.”


    Support for a second Brexit vote has not been ruled out by Labour and it is actively pursued by the Lib Dems, although Prime Minister Theresa May has opposed the move.

    She told the Conservative Party conference that “we had the people’s vote, and the people voted to leave”.

    And the Scottish Conservatives say the SNP is “the party of the neverendum – not just in Scotland, but across the UK too”.

    Elsewhere at the conference, Mr Swinney mounted a defence of standardised assessments for primary one pupils.

    The education secretary is to make a statement to MSPs after the October recess in the wake of a Holyrood defeat which urged ministers to “halt” the tests.

    View the original article:

    The government has promised to “reflect” on this – but Mr Swinney told a fringe event that the vote was a “disgrace” which was focused on politics rather than pupils.

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