Sturgeon warns Labour
● Scottish party is finished if they back Brexit deal, she says
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.”