Vote SNP ‘to escape Brexit’, says Sturgeon

First Minister says party has ‘cast-iron’ mandate to hold another vote on Scottish independence

Scottish first minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon (C) at the  SNP election campaign launch in Edinburgh. Photograph: EPA/ROBERT PERRY

Scottish first minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon (C) at the SNP election campaign launch in Edinburgh. Photograph: EPA/ROBERT PERRY

 

Nicola Sturgeon has insisted the SNP represents a vote “to escape Brexit” and that the party has a “cast-iron” mandate to hold another independence vote.

Unveiling the party’s election campaign in Edinburgh, the First Minister said her intention remains to hold a second referendum on independence next year.

She said: “The SNP already has a cast-iron mandate for an independence referendum, based on our explicit manifesto pledge for the 2016 Holyrood election.

“The question must be to Boris Johnson and to Westminster: What gives you the right to block the democratic wishes of the people of Scotland? That is an undemocratic, untenable and unsustainable position.”

She added that the Conservative Party has “ridden roughshod” over the Scottish Parliament.

“Scotland’s vote to remain in the EU has been ignored,” she said.

“For the first time ever, the UK Government has chosen to legislate on devolved matters without the consent of Holyrood.

“With so-called ‘moderate’ Conservatives in full retreat and the hard-line Brexit ultras on the march, that is surely only a taste of what is to come.”

But she said a vote for the SNP on December 12th is a vote to put Scotland’s future “firmly in Scotland’s hands”.

She went on: “Westminster’s priorities can be summed up in just three words — Brexit, Brexit, Brexit.

“A vote for the SNP, in contrast, is a vote to escape Brexit. A vote for the SNP is a vote to take Scotland’s future out of the hands of Boris Johnson and a broken Westminster system.”

The SNP earlier pledged to introduce a Bill to protect the NHS from any future trade deals with foreign nations, including the United States.

Ms Sturgeon said: “We will fight tooth and nail any attempt to expose the national health service to a post-Brexit trade deal with Donald Trump.

“That’s why after the election, SNP MPs will bring forward a new law — an NHS protection Bill — to explicitly protect the NHS in all four countries of the UK from becoming a bargaining chip in future trade deals. – PA