Westminster government stumbling from ‘disaster to disaster’

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Nicola Sturgeon will end the SNP conference dismissing Theresa May’s government as an “unfolding calamity” and claiming her party offers optimism and hope.

In a speech closing her party’s three-day conference in Glasgow, she will condemn the prime minister’s Brexit strategy and spell out her own party’s demands.


In a damning verdict on the PM and the Tories, she will say: “The Westminster government stumbles from day to day and from disaster to disaster.

“It’s hard to watch that unfolding calamity and feel anything other than despair. So it’s up to us – now more than ever – to offer optimism and hope.”

On Brexit, in a Sky News interview ahead of her speech, Ms Sturgeon said: “If we are looking down the road to a situation where Belfast is still in the single market and Glasgow is not, then any responsible first minister of Scotland is going to say that’s a big worry.

“The implications for us in terms of attracting business and investment for our economy become really profound and would underline the importance of Scotland finding a way to itself remain in the single market.”

On domestic policy, the first minister will announce plans to deliver a Fair Work First policy, putting more pressure on employers to invest in skills and training, end exploitation through zero hours contracts and tackle the gender pay gap.

And she will claim the SNP will be able to offer more hope when Scotland becomes independent.

“An independent Scotland, just as Scotland is now, will be a beacon for progressive values – equality, opportunity, diversity and fairness. Indeed, those values feel more important today than ever before in my lifetime,” she will say.

:: Nicola Sturgeon plays constitutional Jenga over Brexit

Ahead of her speech, Scotland’s Deputy First Minister John Swinney told Sky News Ms Sturgeon will also map out the consequences of Brexit for the SNP’s bid for Scottish independence.

“The first minister will set out the approach that we need to take to making sure Scotland’s future is decided by the people of Scotland,” said Mr Swinney.

“Obviously that’s heavily affected by current issues we face about Brexit and we need to resolve those issues as speedily as we can.

“What’s emerging so clearly is that Westminster is mishandling this whole process and they have no clarity as to how they can put forward a coherent way to handle Brexit.”

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John Swinney says Brexit is clouding the issues around a second independence referendum

But some of the SNP’s MPs are impatient for another independence referendum and frustrated that uncertainty over Brexit is holding that up.

“Of course I’m frustrated,” Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil told Sky News. “Scotland should have done this years, decades ago.

“But our situation will be one we have to move because of Brexit, the constitutional issue is being brought to the fore by the economic carnage of Brexit.

“So we have to find ourselves on the lifeboats quickly before we go down with the Brexit ship and that looks very likely to happen.”

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