Sturgeon warns Labour

● Scot­tish party is fin­ished if they back Brexit deal, she says

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - NEWS - BY DANIEL O’DONOGHUE

Nicola Sturgeon warned Labour MPs not to be­come the “hand­maid­ens of Boris John­son’s Brexit” ahead of to­day’s crunch vote on the prime min­is­ter’s deal. The first min­is­ter’s com­ments came af­ter a num­ber of Labour MPs in Leave vot­ing con­stituen­cies sug­gested they would be minded to vote for Mr John­son’s re­vised with­drawal agree­ment, in di­rect vi­o­la­tion of orders from party HQ.

Even with a num­ber of Labour rebels on board how­ever the prime min­is­ter still faces an up­hill bat­tle to reach the magic 320 votes re­quired to pass his deal as the DUP and ev­ery op­po­si­tion party still plan to vote against. Nev­er­the­less, Mr John­son said he was “very con­fi­dent” of get­ting the ma­jor­ity needed yes­ter­day.

A spokesman for the prime min­is­ter said he and his team had spent Fri­day on the phone to MPs from across the Com­mons to sell the deal.

Ms Sturgeon, speak­ing af­ter meet­ing SNP MPs in West­min­ster, said it would be “the end of Labour in Scot­land” if the Tory deal was passed on the back of Labour votes.

She said: “I sup­pose my grow­ing sus­pi­cion is that Labour will al­low Boris John­son to get his deal over the line, now I hope I am wrong about that, but I’m sim­ply sur­mis­ing from what I am hear­ing.

“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 so called Labour rebels in the hope that there is enough of them that al­low it over the line. Now I hope I am wrong about that.”

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.”

The com­ments came as French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron sug­gested he is against a fur­ther Brexit ex­ten­sion, telling re­porters: “I do not think we shall grant any fur­ther de­lay. I think it is time to put an end to these ne­go­ti­a­tions and move on to the fu­ture re­la­tion­ship”.

Ms Sturgeon was un­con­cerned by Mr Macron’s re­marks how­ever, she said: “There’s no way the EU would re­ject a re­quest for an ex­ten­sion. Theresa May tried this, to sort of bully MPs into see­ing it as a choice be­tween her deal and nodeal 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 any­one who says it’s a choice

“It was a false choice then and it’s a false choice now”

to­mor­row be­tween this deal and no-deal is frankly not be­ing straight with peo­ple.”

Talk­ing about the SNP’s plans to­day, 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.”

Mr John­son, speak­ing to ITV ahead of the vote, called on MPs of all stripes to back his deal, he said: “I think that get­ting it done would be a chance for us to come to­gether as a coun­try and move on and fo­cus on things that re­ally mat­ter to peo­ple. I think the sigh of re­lief that would go up, not just around Bri­tain, but around the world, would be very very large.”

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