Sturgeon: Tories plan to "sacrifice" Scottish economy to win Ukip vote

First Minister goes after Tory-Ukip pact as poisonous for Scottish jobs

FIRST MINISTER NICOLA STURGEON, has today (Monday 8 May) accused the Tories of harvesting Ukip votes to sacrifice Scotland’s jobs and economic safety.

Following the local elections which saw the SNP come out as the largest party across Scotland’s local authorities, the SNP leader warned Prime Minister Theresa May that her flirtation with Ukip voters in England to pursue a hard negotiating stance with the EU will result in the “sacrifice of thousands of Scottish jobs.”

Last week the UK Prime Minister accused the EU of interfering in the upcoming UK General Elections on 8 June, causing more tensions with the 27 member block and drawing criticism for provoking what some analysts fear could be a “no deal Brexit” situation.

Such an outcome would mean instability in the currency markets, a lack of status and clarity on trade and diplomatic limbo for the UK Government, British firms and nationals.

With exactly one month to go until the general election, Ms Sturgeon said that without a strong SNP voice for Scotland at Westminster the Tories will think they have a free hand to negotiate any Brexit deal - or crash out of Europe without a deal - in the months and years to come.

“Now more than ever before there is a need to send strong voices for Scotland to stop the Tories from doing whatever they like.” Nicola Sturgeon

Speaking on the campaigning trail, Sturgeon said: “In the last few days, the Tory mask has slipped. There is now no doubt - they’ll  sacrifice Scotland’s interests and jobs because they’re far more concerned about winning votes from UKIP.

“Theresa May’s extraordinary attacks on our European partners demonstrate that an unchecked Tory government is prepared to pursue a chaotic hard Brexit if it is in the interests of the Tory Party, whatever the cost to Scotland. And even those who voted to Leave the EU should be concerned about the consequences of a hard Brexit that puts winning the votes of Ukip ahead of Scottish jobs.

“The difference between the Tories and the SNP couldn’t be clearer. They want to pick fights with Europe. The SNP will fight to protect the interests of the people of Scotland.

“Now more than ever before there is a need to send strong voices for Scotland to stop the Tories from doing whatever they like. They seem to want to silence Scotland’s democratic voice. They ignored the overwhelming result of the EU referendum in Scotland. They rejected the compromise plan from the Scottish Government to keep both Scotland and the UK in the single market, putting at risk 80,000 Scottish jobs.

“In the last few days, the Tory mask has slipped. There is now no doubt - they’ll  sacrifice Scotland’s interests and jobs because they’re far more concerned about winning votes from Ukip.” Nicola Sturgeon

“And they’ve treated the Scottish Parliament’s repeated opposition to a hard Brexit with contempt. The evidence is mounting up that the Tories are starting to believe they can do anything to Scotland and get away with it. Labour is collapsing but the SNP is dedicated to standing up for Scotland.”

Thursday’s (4 May) council elections saw the Conservatives gain 164 seats in Scotland to achieve a tally of 276. Labour shed 112 councillors to trail in third on 262, losing control of three councils. But both were outdone by the SNP, which added 31 councillors to win a total of 431 seats.

On Friday the Tories saw significant advances in the local elections in England and Wales, gaining more than 550 council seats and saw shock victories in mayoralty contests in the West Midlands and Tees Valley. The results suggest that the Tories are on track to secure a significant majority in the UK General Election. Ukip lost 145 council seats – all but one.

In England and Wales, the local elections saw Ukip’s vote share bleed into the Tories whereas Labour’s vote in Scotland drained into Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson party, re-confiming it as the party of union and opposition to the SNP and Scottish Greens. The Scottish Greens gained a total of 19 seats representing an increase on the 14 councillors the party won five years ago - with victories in Highlands and Orkney - the first ever Green candidates returned there.

In response, the Prime Minister’s office said: “At this time, it is important that we face the coming challenges and negotiations as one united kingdom.”

Picture courtesy of FMS

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