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Sturgeon refuses to rule out options in bid to prevent no-deal Brexit

UK News | Published:

The Scottish First Minister said that no talks are currently being held between the SNP and the Labour Party over a deal to lock the Tories out.

Nicola Sturgeon has said that she will not rule out any options in a bid to avoid a no-deal Brexit.

A proposal was made by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on Wednesday to put forward a no-confidence motion in the Government in order to prevent a no-deal scenario.

The move would see Mr Corbyn installed as a temporary prime minister with a view to calling a snap general election.

During an Edinburgh Festival Fringe event on Thursday, Ms Sturgeon denied that the SNP is working on any deal with the Labour Party, but indicated that she would be open to forming a progressive alternative to a Tory government at Westminster.

“If you’re asking me, ‘are we working away doing a deal at the moment?’, the answer is no, we’re not,” said Scotland’s First Minister.

“I’m not having discussions with Jeremy Corbyn about this kind of stuff.

“But in a post-general election type scenario, what I’ve been saying is not new. If the arithmetic after an election lent itself to it, I would work in the SNP to be part of a progressive, alternative government.

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“It doesn’t make me a great fan of Jeremy Corbyn, I can’t envisage a formal coalition between the SNP and Labour, but I would always try to work to put together an alternative to a Tory government.”

Ms Sturgeon added: “I think it’s reasonable to say that even, I would hope, the objective observers who are not any great supporter of the SNP would concede, we’ve been the most consistent anti-Brexit voice since the 2016 referendum.

“I’ve said all along, and we’ve been trying to work across parties, work with anybody and everybody in Westminster to try to put a coalition, a majority in the Commons, together to preferably stop Brexit altogether, but absolutely stop a no-deal Brexit.

“There are different ways that can be achieved. What Jeremy Corbyn has said today is by no means the only option.

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“That is one way of potentially avoiding a no-deal Brexit, it’s not the only one. My view is that the consequences and the implications of a no-deal are so severe that we should be exploring all options and we shouldn’t be ruling anything out.”

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson on Thursday ruled out the prospect of supporting Jeremy Corbyn as part of a temporary administration.

However, Ms Sturgeon has urged the newly-elected Lib Dem leader to reconsider her position on the issue.

Remarking on Ms Swinson’s position in opposing the Labour Party leader’s plan, Ms Sturgeon said: “I think that’s daft frankly for someone who professes to be so against Brexit.

“On the remain, anti-no deal Brexit side, we should be looking at all options and I’m not prepared to rule out anything before we’ve had the opportunity to explore it.”

Earlier this month, shadow chancellor John McDonnell also said that Labour would not seek to block another Scottish independence referendum.

In an interview with the BBC on Thursday, Mr Corbyn said that although he does not support Scotland becoming independent, the UK Parliament should not prevent another vote from being held on the issue.

Ms Sturgeon welcomed the position of Mr Corbyn on another independence referendum, which has been opposed by the Scottish Labour Party.

“I’m no great fan of Jeremy Corbyn, I’ve been very frustrated, as have many people, over his lack of leadership on Brexit,” said Ms Sturgeon.

“But his position on independence and indy ref two, in my view, is the right position, it’s the fundamentally democratic position.

“What he’s said today is that he opposes independence and he opposes there being another referendum. Now, I disagree with both of those things, but those are legitimate positions to take.

“He goes on to say that not withstanding that, he doesn’t think Westminster should block an independence referendum and he’s absolutely right on that.

“And for the life of me, I don’t understand why that’s not the position that Scottish Labour just decides to take as well.

“It allows them to argue for what they believe in, but it also respects a basic principle of democracy which is if there is a mandate on an independence referendum, as there has been a majority vote in the Scottish Parliament, then no Westminster government should stand in the way of that.”

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