SNP will refuse to vote for any Brexit trade agreement despite warnings of no deal 'catastrophe'

Dan Sanderson
·2 min read
Nicola Sturgeon strongly opposes Brexit - JOHN THYS/AFP
Nicola Sturgeon strongly opposes Brexit - JOHN THYS/AFP

The SNP will refuse to vote for any Brexit trade agreement despite the party warning that a no-deal outcome would be “catastrophic” for Scotland, a senior minister has confirmed.

Mike Russell said that while he would prefer the UK to secure an agreement with Brussels, nationalist MPs would refuse to vote for a deal in the Commons under any circumstances.

Opposition MSPs said Mr Russell’s position “reveals the SNP’s destructive true colours” and showed the party was “desperate” for crunch talks to fail due to the belief it would boost the case for independence.

According to the SNP, a no deal would prove “catastrophic and would have severe and disproportionate impacts on Scotland – on food supply, on medicines, on transport, and rural matters.”

However, Mr Russell told the BBC that it was “inconceivable” that the SNP’s 47 MPs would vote in favour of an agreement in the Commons, even though he believed it would be “better to have some sort of arrangement than no sort of arrangement.”

He added: “We won’t support a deal because we don’t believe Brexit is the right thing to happen.

“Scotland did not vote for Brexit, it would be extraordinary if we were voting to give away all the rights that we have and all the things we have enjoyed for almost 50 years. That would be inconceivable.

“We’re not going to nod anything through, and I don’t think anybody would expect us to.”

Labour is currently discussing whether to back any deal in the Commons, while Mr Johnson could also face a revolt from his own backbenchers, depending on the terms of any agreement, if one is secured.

Responding to Mr Russell’s comments, Dean Lockhart, constitution spokesman for the Scottish Tories, said: “Mike Russell reveals yet again the SNP's destructive true colours by refusing to back any Brexit deal no matter how positive it may be for the people of Scotland.

"The nationalists are desperate for these talks to fail because they believe it would fuel their ideological and highly damaging pursuit of breaking up the UK."