Nicola Sturgeon hits out at Theresa May's stance on Brexit impact

Nicola Sturgeon

Revisiting the theme of an independence referendum comes prior to the publication of an impact assessment report of Brexit for the Scottish economy.

"The best way to protect the economy would be to remain in the Single Market and the Customs Union", the report noted, echoing a statement of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

The forecasts come in a new paper published by the devolved administration.

Staying in the single market as a member of the European Economic Area would mean Scotland's economy would be 2.7 percent smaller by 2030 than it would be if Brexit did not happen at all, Sturgeon said.

Brexit Secretary David Davis told MPs last month the UK Government had not carried out any economic impact assessments of Brexit on the UK.

Wes Streeting, one of the most prominent advocates for remaining in the single market on the Labour back benches at Westminster, said the Scottish Labour leader had given his party the hardest Brexit stance at Holyrood and urged him to reconsider.

She added: "It will be a fundamental dereliction of duty as Prime Minister if Theresa May continues to pursue her red lines without providing information on their impact, and publicly discussing the options available".

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"Rather than trying to undermine the result of a democratic referendum, we urge the Scottish government to work with us to ensure, as we leave the European Union, we protect the UK's vital internal market".

"As the costs of Brexit become clearer and the public mood begins to shift, it is clear that Brexit is seeing us sleepwalk to economic suicide and must be stopped, both for this and future generations".

'Of course, there is no alternative arrangement that can deliver the jobs, people and economic benefit that come from remaining members of the European Union but if the United Kingdom continues down the path of leaving the EU, it is the Prime Minister's duty to do as little harm as possible to the economy.

Asked if she accepts Scotland is going to leave the EU, Mrs Sturgeon replied: "I still hope that there is an alternative to that - I think it's best for Scotland, I believes that it's best for the United Kingdom to remain within the EU".

The Scottish Conservatives have urged Ms Sturgeon to back UK-wide rules on trade and immigration rather than seeking any separate deal for Scotland.

'Rather than trying to undermine the result of a democratic referendum, we urge the Scottish Government to work with us to ensure, as we leave the European Union, we protect the UK's vital internal market'.

Noting that the government is already in talks with countries including the US, Turkey and Saudi Arabia about trade, Murray said that it was likely that such deals would favour big business, and likened the approach to the controversial (and for now, off the table) Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (Ttip).

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