Nicola Sturgeon has called on Theresa May to change course in order to avoid an “utterly disastrous” no-deal Brexit if the Prime Minister’s plans are rejected by MPs in a crunch vote on December 11.
Scotland’s First Minister called for the UK’s departure from the European Union to be delayed in order to find a “workable alternative” to Mrs May’s Brexit deal, which faces widespread opposition in the Commons.
But in talks at Westminster, Mrs May urged the First Minister to listen to Scottish business chiefs and back the deal or risk going back to “square one”.
Ms Sturgeon said: “I used today’s meeting with the Prime Minister to reiterate that it cannot – and must not – be a false choice between her proposed deal and a no-deal outcome, which threatens to be utterly disastrous for jobs, business and living standards.
“Instead, there must be a recognition that, if the PM’s deal is defeated in the Commons as is widely expected, then a workable alternative is urgently needed.
“That means there should be an extension to the Article 50 process, and we will join with those from other parties in trying to secure such an extension.”
Extending the Article 50 process would keep the UK in the EU beyond the current March 29 2019 departure date.
Ms Sturgeon added: “The SNP will lay our amendment to the meaningful vote later this week and we will continue to work with others to build consensus around alternative proposals that would deliver on the vote of the people of Scotland to remain.
“With the UK Government’s own published figures now making clear that any kind of Brexit would make us all poorer, the time has come for all those who oppose the extreme Brexit championed by the right-wing of the Tory Party to come together and make a stand.”
A Downing Street spokesman said: “The Prime Minister spoke about the support she has received from fishermen, farmers and business leaders – like Sir Ian Wood – who back the deal as it gives them the clarity and certainty they need to protect jobs and living standards.
“The Prime Minister urged the First Minister to listen to these voices in their support of the deal as opposed to risking a no-deal Brexit or going back to square one of negotiations.”
The First Minister’s visit comes after all parties at Holyrood, except the Conservatives, united to back a motion opposing Mrs May’s Brexit deal.
MSPs will vote on the motion at the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday.