Sturgeon’s Brexit attack unravels – Boris lists mega-opportunities for Scotland outside EU

Nicola Sturgeon says the last year has ‘tested her’

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The SNP leader lashed out at Boris Johnson earlier today, accusing him of “economic vandalism” by leaving the EU transition period at the end of last year. Ms Sturgeon criticised the Westminster Government for forcing a “hard Brexit” upon Scotland, which voted to remain a part of the single market in 2016.

But No10 has hit back at the assessment from the SNP, with Boris Johnson’s press secretary Allegra Stratton highlighting how new freeports and trade deals outside of the EU will help Scotland to boom in the decades ahead.

The bitter row over the impact of Brexit reignited today as the SNP set out its platform for May’s Scottish Parliament elections.

Ms Sturgeon said: “Unless we choose a different path, we will be hampered by a hard Brexit that we didn’t vote for.

“Brexit is already causing deep damage and it will continue to hit the economy and jobs hard.

“To be removed from the European Single Market – which is seven times the size of the UK – in the middle of a pandemic was an act of economic vandalism.

“And no party which supports that economic sabotage has any right to claim they are putting the recovery first.

“A recovery made in Scotland will be one which puts Scotland’s economy first.

“It will be a recovery not back to the way things were before – but to a clean, green, wellbeing economy that works for everyone.

“Scotland is one of the wealthiest countries in the world – but for too many people it doesn’t feel that way.”

However, Ms Stratton pointed to the benefits of freedom from Brussels rules as she made the case for Scotland’s place in the UK outside the EU.

She said: “Looking ahead to the future, you’ve seen the Prime Minister on his trip to Scotland recently talking about freeports and talking about growth deals.

“The Union connectivity review is just that: it’s there to bring the union together and allow greater transport between Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and England.

“This is something we’ve been addressing in detail in recent visits.”

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Trade Secretary Liz Truss has already signed over 70 trade deals with countries since Britain left the EU and has set her eyes on securing agreements with countries Brussels is yet to reach pacts with.

The SNP has vowed to take Scotland back into the European Union if it wins a second independence referendum.

While Mr Johnson has ruled out giving permission for such a vote, Ms Sturgeon has said Westminster will have no choice but to grant a new vote if her party wins a majority in Holyrood on May 6.

In her speech to SNP members today, the party leader said: “I believe people in Scotland have the right to decide their own future in an independence referendum, when this current crisis has passed.

“So that Scotland’s recovery will be in Scotland’s hands.

“So we can build the Scotland that we know we can be – a country of compassion, equality and love.

“The SNP is ready to put our case to the country.

“Acase that is based on our absolute belief that the best people to take Scotland forward are the people who live here.”

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