Nicola Sturgeon to Theresa May: time to set out plan B on Brexit

Ahead of meeting the Prime Minister in Edinburgh today, the First Minister has demanded that Prime Minister Theresa May sets out her plan B on Brexit. Here’s what Nicola Sturgeon has said in full.

The Prime Minister faces two key tests in the negotiations over next few months.

She must secure a withdrawal agreement that provides for an orderly transition.  Without that, the UK faces the catastrophic prospect of crashing out of the EU without a deal.

But she must also secure agreement on a detailed statement on the future relationship between the UK and the EU – because without that we will simply be moving from the prospect of a no deal Brexit to the damage of what some of her own colleagues apparently now refer to as a blind Brexit.

A no deal Brexit would be utterly unacceptable and deeply damaging, but by talking it up as a negotiating tactic there is a very real danger it becomes a reality.

And while the UK’s focus is on the scare tactics of no deal, there has been no visible progress on securing a future relationship that protects trade in both goods and services.

The Prime Minister promised a detailed statement on the future relationship with the EU alongside the withdrawal agreement, so parliament and the people would know where the UK is going. That promise must be kept.

Parliament cannot be asked to make the decision on withdrawal without details on what the future relationship will look like.

With the Chequers proposals falling flat, even if a withdrawal agreement can be secured, there is a very real risk that we end up with a blind Brexit – which will see the UK step off the cliff edge next March without knowing what landing place will be.

That would do as much harm to jobs, investment and the economy as a no deal Brexit and would leave the country directionless through the transition period.

Given this lack of clarity and real concerns of no agreement, it is time the Prime Minister told us what her Plan B is. We cannot have no deal and we cannot have a blind Brexit.

The whole of the UK deserves answers from the Prime Minister and we cannot continue without a back up plan.