Sturgeon Sets Herself on Collision Course With May Over Brexit

Posted in Google Brexit News
at 2016.10.15
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Sturgeon Sets Herself on Collision Course With May Over Brexit

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will declare herself the main opposition to Theresa May’s government, setting a course that’s designed to show Scotland is moving in a different direction from the rest of the U.K.

Two days after opening the Scottish National Party’s conference in Glasgow by hardening her threat to call another independence referendum if she doesn’t like May’s strategy for Brexit negotiations, Sturgeon will close the meeting on Saturday with a speech that her office said will have a “heavy domestic focus.”

Extracts released in advance show Sturgeon will also argue that Britain’s vote to leave the European Union marks a fundamental shift for the country, one with which Scotland doesn’t agree. She’ll argue that May’s government has adopted an isolationist stance, which she’ll promise to fight.

“We are in a completely new era,” the first minister will say. “And as the world around us changes, we must ensure that Scotland remains the progressive, internationalist, communitarian country that the majority of us living here want it be. The choice we face has never been so stark. The primary contest of ideas in our country is now between the SNP and the hard-right Tories.”

Setting herself up for a battle with May will serve Sturgeon in future elections: The SNP’s pitch to voters is that it is best placed to fight for Scotland’s interests. But it will also serve her long-term goal of independence. 

Brexit Arguments

Her best chance of winning a vote to break away from the U.K. rests in persuading her fellow Scots that their country is moving away from the path being taken by the rest of Britain Having lost a first independence referendum in 2014 and with opinion polls showing most Scots still oppose a breakup, she also needs to successfully argue that the country’s situation has fundamentally changed since then.

Brexit is an asset in both of those arguments: Scotland voted to stay in the EU, but as speaker after speaker has reminded the party conference, it is being taken out of the bloc by the votes of the English.

After threatening a referendum if May takes the U.K. into too distant a relationship with the EU, Sturgeon was forced to deny on Friday that this was a bluff. She’s unlikely to call a referendum she isn’t sure of winning and her task over the coming years is to persuade Scots that leaving the EU is so dangerous a course that quitting the U.K. would be the safer option.

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Published at Fri, 14 Oct 2016 23:15:00 +0000

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