SNP Westminster leader threatens 'maximum disruption' to Tory UK Government

8 October 2018, 12:29

Ian Blackford snp conference

The SNP's Westminster leader has threatened his party's MPs will cause "maximum disruption" to UK Tory government if it continues to "treat Scotland as a second class nation".

Ian Blackford, hit out at Theresa May's Conservative administration, insisting it was on "a reckless mission to trash our economy" with what he branded as "self destructive policies on Brexit, austerity and immigration threaten serious and lasting harm".

He hit out at the "turmoil and terrifying damage" that leaving the European Union will bring to Scotland.

And Mr Blackford made clear SNP MPs at Westminster would not vote for any Brexit deal that removes the UK from the single market and the customs union.

Addressing the SNP annual conference in Glasgow, Mr Blackford recalled that the Scottish Parliament had refused to grant its consent to the UK Government's key Brexit legislation.

Sending out a message to Mrs May and her ministers, he said: "Let those in Westminster hear this - if contempt continues to be shown to the people of Scotland and our Parliament - SNP MPs will not hesitate in causing maximum disruption to this Tory Government's agenda when and where Scotland needs us to."

Mr Blackford, who led a walkout of SNP MPs during Prime Ministser's Questions, said the "Tories think they can do whatever they want to Scotland and get away with it".

But he added that thousands of Scots joined the SNP in the wake of the walkout "to show the Prime Minister we will not have our Parliament, our people and our country disrespected".

On Brexit he said the SNP "have been clear, the unprecedented economic damage can only be prevented by staying in the single market and the customs union".

However he claimed that on this "the Prime Minister continues to duck and dive her responsibilities".

The SNP Westminster leader told the conference: "I put the Prime Minister on notice here today - we will not support any deal that threatens Scottish jobs and living standards.

"Let me be very clear - the SNP will not cave to ultimatums from the Prime Minister. We will not follow the Tories through any lobby that leads to economic destruction for citizens across Scotland and the UK.

"We will not sit back and allow Scotland to be dragged out of the single market and customs union against its will.

"We will not be complicit in a blind - or a no deal Brexit.

"When the time comes to vote on the Brexit deal, the only deal we will accept is one that keeps Scotland in the single market and the customs union. Any other deal will sell us short."

He accused the Conservatives of failing to respect both Scotland's vote to stay in the EU in 2016, and Holyrood's refusal to give formal consent to the European Union (Withdrawal) Act.

"The Tories promised Scotland a union of equals but have instead have downgraded devolution and discounted the sovereign will of the Scottish people," Mr Blackford said.

But he added the "democratic outrage of Brexit is crystallising the case for Scotland having the full control over its own affairs".