Sturgeon Fails To Find Common Ground With Labour Over Brexit

20 November 2018, 18:27

Nicola Sturgeon

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has admitted she has not yet found common ground with Labour over an alternative Brexit deal.

Ms Sturgeon met Jeremy Corbyn in Westminster to try to coalesce around another way forward but said "we're not there yet".

Speaking ahead of a meeting with the Prime Minister, the SNP leader said she had met all opposition leaders and they were united in planning to vote down Theresa May's deal.

However, Ms Sturgeon said the next step was to agree on an alternative, citing a People's Vote, single market membership and a customs union as options.

She said: "What we talked about was our unity of purpose in thinking the prime minister's deal is a bad deal and voting that down, unity of purpose in not allowing this to be presented as a bad deal or no deal.

"No deal is not an option and there's no majority for no deal.

"What I wouldn't say is we got to the stage today where there's an agreement that can be coalesced around one of those but, to be frank, that's the responsibility of the opposition."

Ms Sturgeon did not hold back from criticising Mr Corbyn over a lack of leadership and expressed frustration Labour had stopped short of prioritising a second vote that could stop Brexit.

However, she also said she could get behind Labour's position on a pushing for a vote of no confidence and a general election instead of "wringing my hands".

She said: "I don't think his position on Brexit has shown a lot of leadership even until very recent days but we've got to look ahead now.

"I'm not saying I can sit here and tell you I can guarantee I can get to a position where me and Jeremy Corbyn are on the same page, but I feel a responsibility to have a go at that.

"I would relish a general election - this is the most incompetent shambolic government in my lifetime, so I would relish that."

She also flagged up Labour's apparent inability to make the case for immigration as a major sticking point, claiming they had fallen in line with Mrs May's "absolutely despicable" immigration policy.

Ms Sturgeon said she was open to working with Remain-leaning Tories but had yet to meet them.

She said: "Yes, I think that will inevitably happen but I haven't done that today - I've been meeting the opposition parties - but the softer, Remain element of the Conservatives have a role to play in putting that majority together."

The SNP leader added it was "inconceivable" the EU would not work with MPs if they voted down Mrs May's deal and sought to renegotiate, which she said could include an extension of Article 50.