SNP says independence support will be boosted by Labour and Tory Brexit stance

Labour accused of failing to oppose hard Brexit as MP claims there is “no such thing” as the single market

THE SNP has lambasted Labour for failing to take a strong enough stance against Tory plans for a hard Brexit and have suggested Scottish voters are likely to turn to independence as a result, after Scottish Labour MP Paul Sweeney argued that there was “no such thing” as the single market.

Quizzed on Good Morning Scotland about his party’s position on the single market and customs union after leaving the EU, Sweeney said: “It’s inevitable that the UK as a member state of the European Union will have to withdraw from the single market and customs union as a first step.

“The question is then what structures do we negotiate our access to? Is it going to be a new bespoke relationship, or is it going to be through other structures such as the European Free Trade Association, the European Economic Area?”

READ MORE: Explainer: Breaking down the Scottish Government's Brexit impact study

Sweeney failed to be specific when questioned on Labour’s “ultimate aim”, while stating that they would wish to maintain “maintain maximum benefits of the single market and customs union”.

However, Sweeney would not agree that the ideal would be to remain in “the single market and customs union”, arguing instead that it would be “a single market and customs union”.

He said: “There’s no such thing as ‘the’. It’s not a single membership organisation, the membership organisation is the European Union. But what we can do is maintain benefits of participation within the single market that exists.”

SNP MSP George Adam said that by failing to make the case for maintaining membership of the single market, Labour was effectively “aiding and abetting right-wing Tory plans for an extreme Brexit which will do huge damage to the Scottish economy, jobs and living standards”.

He added that Sweeney’s remarks “underlined the vacuum at the heart of Labour policy on the biggest single issue facing the country”, and suggested that if Labour and the Tories fail to prevent a hard Brexit, support for independence will increase.

READ MORE: Every Brexit option will harm Scotland, says new Scottish Government study

He said: “If the only option for Scotland is being dragged out of Europe against our will, with all the massive economic harm that would do, then more and more people will see the value of taking decisions for ourselves in an independent Scotland.”

Figures leaked on Wednesday revealed that UK Government analysis of the economic impact of Brexit largely mirrors the bleak picture presented by the Scottish Government’s own analysis last month.

The leak indicates that economic growth in Scotland would be nine per cent slower as a result of leaving the EU, compared with the Scottish Government’s projection of 8.5 per cent.

A free trade agreement with the EU would mean Scotland’s growth would reduce by six per cent, according to the Treasury document – compared to 6.1 in the Scottish Government analysis – and if the UK remained within the single market, Scotland’s growth would slow by 2.5 per cent, compared with the 2.7 per cent projected in the Scottish report.

Describing Labour’s stance as “an utter disgrace”, Adam continued: “Scottish Labour’s position – in line with that of their London bosses – is utterly bizarre and inexcusable.

READ MORE: Leonard delivers first major speech as Scottish Labour leader

“They are doing literally nothing to fight the Tories’ chaotic Brexit plans, even now that we know from the UK Government’s own analysis how much economic damage will be done by a hard Brexit outside the single market.

“That will only see more and more people across Scotland, including Labour supporters who oppose Brexit, realise just how feeble the party is. It’s time for both Labour and the Tories to stand up to the hard Brexiteers and put jobs and the economy first.”

Responding to the leaked Brexit document on Wednesday, Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard tweeted: “The leaked Brexit document confirms that we can’t trust the Tories to secure a good deal for Scotland and the rest of the UK.

“The sooner we have a snap election and elect a @UKlabour Govt and @JeremyCorbyn as PM the better for all involved.”

In his first major speech as party leader last month, Leonard was critical of the SNP’s proposals for Scotland to remain within the single market, saying: “Currently they argue for permanent membership of the single market without being a member of the EU.

“This would lead us to a position of being rule takers and not rule makers. We believe Scotland and the rest of the UK deserves better.”

Picture courtesy of Paisley Scotland

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John Stuart Wilson

Thu, 02/08/2018 - 16:08

Nicola Sturgeon has been saying Brexit=Independence since the day after the referendum. Over that period her popularity, support for the SNP, support for independence, and support for a second referendum have all dropped.

I put it to you that the average Scot doesn't really care all that much about Brexit, and they see that her attempts to leverage it into a renewed push for independence are transparently illogical and dishonest.

Alan Bissett

Thu, 02/08/2018 - 17:37

If you average the polls, support for independence hasn't dropped at all. Bounced between about 42-48% since 2014. I know you wish it were otherwise, but that's the situation, sorry.

John Stuart Wilson

Thu, 02/08/2018 - 19:00

If you cherry pick your data and manipulate it to produce an outcome, then, yes, you can make it say whatever you want. The Independence White Paper comes to mind.

If you do the sensible thing and resist the temptation to manipulate the data, and instead just take in what it is telling you, you see that in mid 2016 support for independence was in the high 40s - unchanged from the referendum - but now it is in the low 30s.

Alan Bissett

Thu, 02/08/2018 - 19:24

Sorry, but you are completely wrong, or else cherry-picking your own data.


Thu, 02/08/2018 - 20:57

John, could you direct me to the url sovereign wealth fund for the UK?
Could you direct me to the Norwegian url wealth fund? Ross


Thu, 02/08/2018 - 20:57

What do you think of Statoil John, Ross


Thu, 02/08/2018 - 21:26

John? John? Are you there John?

John Stuart Wilson

Thu, 02/08/2018 - 21:35

@Alan Bissett
Support for Scottish independence at 32%

John Stuart Wilson

Thu, 02/08/2018 - 21:38

In a discussion of the continuing futile efforts of the SNP to make Brexit = Independence, your intervention is to change the subject. I guess that isn't surprising.


Thu, 02/08/2018 - 21:58

John, Statoil have a 51% ownership of all Norwegian oilfields. Can you tell me what percentage of ownership of the UK oilfields does the UK government have? Ross


Thu, 02/08/2018 - 22:01

John, Statoil have a 51% ownership of all Norwegian oilfields. Can you tell me what percentage of ownership of the UK oilfields does the UK government have? Ross


Thu, 02/08/2018 - 22:01

John, just answer the questions Ross


Thu, 02/08/2018 - 22:03

John,I don't care about your 32% response. I don't care if it is true or not Please answer the questions, Ross


Thu, 02/08/2018 - 22:06

I don't care about Brexit or Independence. I don't care about the SNP. Just answer my questions, Ross


Thu, 02/08/2018 - 22:09

John, do you know how much Norway is legally allowed to "draw down" from the £2trillion sovereign wealth fund for each fiscal year? Ross


Thu, 02/08/2018 - 22:10

John, do you know what Norway drew down from their sovereign wealth fund when the oil price and the SNP tanked ?


Thu, 02/08/2018 - 22:13

John, do you know how much Shell and BP paid into the UK coffers when the oil price and the SNP tanked? Do you know how much Statoil paid into the sovereign wealth fund in the year 2015/16 when the oil price tanked?


Thu, 02/08/2018 - 22:16

Ah John, poor John, ridiculous John. I asked non political questions about one part of the economy of the UK and Norway. No answers were a coming.
I will wait John. Promise , John.


Thu, 02/08/2018 - 22:18

You see John, the answers that I know , and you don't, are never printed in the MSM, bless, Ross


Thu, 02/08/2018 - 22:20


How many people pass thru Edinburgh airport? How many people pass thru Glasgow airport? Ross


Thu, 02/08/2018 - 22:24

John, How many people pass thru Dublin airport (that daft wee capital of Oirland) ? How many scheduled flights by Aer Lingus are there every day from Dublin to Paris, for example? How many scheduled flights by BA are there to Paris from Edinburgh AND Glasgow, Ross


Thu, 02/08/2018 - 22:29

John, to put you out of your misery; Edinburgh 12 m +. Glasgow 11km+
Daft wee Dublin in Oirland; nearly 30 million. Dear John, why do you think daft wee Oirland, too poor too daft to run itself has all these people passing thru their capital? Ross


Thu, 02/08/2018 - 22:44

John, Aer Lingus have four scheduled flights a day to Paris. BA has no flights per day to Paris from Edinburgh or Glasgow. EasyJet has ONE flight I believe and Air France has one flight (stand to be corrected) . You see John this is an economic lever. If we have diplomats around the world then you will have corresponding footfalls thru our airports . Can you let us know how the UK government has expanded footfall thru our Glasgow and Edinburgh airports at even a fraction of the numbers passing thru Dublin, Oirland? There are a hundred thousand levers we can use to improve our economy. Come on john, Ross

Alan Bissett

Thu, 02/08/2018 - 22:45

Dear dear, John, you've got a real cheek to talk about 'cherry picking' the data to make it show what you want it to! Not only have you chosen the only poll that shows support for independence way, way below what's been commonly reported in polls - around 45% - but you've completely spun its data for the outlook that best suits your needs. See here for a debunking of it.


Thu, 02/08/2018 - 22:50


A wee taster for you; how much do you think the Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund has invested in the UKs £2trillion debt mountain? Oh how we laughed!
How much do you think that the Norwegian Sovereign wealth fund has invested in Apple and the other 99 top companies in the world ?

Don't ever tell me that Scotland could never be a successful country on its own, Ross


Thu, 02/08/2018 - 22:53

Alan, I don't care about polls; its the economy, stupid.
John , whither where for art thou? Ross


Thu, 02/08/2018 - 22:54



Fri, 02/09/2018 - 09:12

But that poll did not ask the simple question are you in favour of Scottish Independence.

"A survey by pollsters Survation found 36 per cent backed the status quo when presented with four options, including full independence, “devo max”, or don’t know.

 The poll, carried out last month, found support for independence at 32 per cent, while 17 per cent backed devo max - which would hand all powers to Holyrood short of defence and foreign affairs - with the remainder undecided.


Read more at:

Comparing the results of a four way choice with a binary choice it is unsurprising that the %age for both binary choices reduces. There is also the issue of what is meant by the status quo? Given Brexit, continuation of the current status quo is unlikely.


Fri, 02/09/2018 - 10:30

Those who claim that their anti independence stance is reflected in the polls are the same people who vociferously reject a referendum on the matter. Why? Wouldn’t this be the most auspicious time to hold a referendum? If they are so certain they would win why do they fight so vigorously against having one? I think we know the answer to that one.
As someone who voted to Leave I am fairly happy that we will eventually finish up with membership of the EEFTA. I am above all respectful of the wishes of the Scottish people. That is why I support the efforts of the Scottish government to pursue the people’s wishes.
It is also why I respect Corbyn when he tries to respect the wishes of the English electorate. Were the Scottish vote removed from the referendum ballot it would only strengthen the “Leave” outcome.
To put it in a clearer light. Jacob Rees Mogg and I come to the same conclusion from entirely opposing directions on this subject.
He comes at this with the prospect of deregulating and reducing environmental protections to that of India and China. He can do that with the clear knowledge that it won’t be HIS 6 CHILDREN who will be crushed and incinerated in the festering sweat shops IT WILL BE YOURS AND MINE.

I on the other hand want the power of our government to take back into public ownership ALL those industries and utilities upon which we ALL depend : energy : transport : water: healthcare: housing: land : agriculture: fisheries.
A To invigorate democracy by enshrining in a written constitution ownership of these utilities, by a bill of rights which guaranteing those environmental protections and which judges the success of a government by how vigorously it pursues and prosecutes those who breach them.
My perspective is of a Scotland liberated from the greed and avarice of the past. My dream is of a Scotland whose eyes are fixed on how well the “little people” are doing and not on how much richer those already rich beyond the dreams of avarice will do.
The EU always about the welfare of those elites. Any good which trickled down to the “little people” was coincidental.
The political complexion of the EU grows more reactionary by the day. Let’s not rush into an even more ruthless union when we exit this one.

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