SNP demand EU conditions in UK hung parliament
Alyn Smith: ‘we need to undo Brexit’ (pic: Terry Murden)
Sir Keir Starmer will come under pressure to undo some of the Brexit trading rules as the price for being supported by the SNP in a minority Labour government in Westminster.
Voting intentions in the wake of the Conservatives’ disastrous showing in last week’s local elections in England point to a hung parliament next year with Labour as the biggest party.
That could see the SNP holding the balance of power and today the party is laying down its demands for supporting Sir Keir’s legislative programme.
The SNP’s EU Accession spokesman Alyn Smith said his party would seek to “undo Brexit as far as possible” and secure a close relationship between the UK and the EU in the interim, with single market membership and free movement being key priorities.
“The SNP would also push for the UK to rejoin Erasmus and Horizon Europe, and defend the European Court of Justice, while ensuring Scotland has the power to escape Brexit entirely with independence,” he said.
However, Sir Keir has ruled out any deals with the SNP. He told the Scottish Labour Party conference in February: “Whatever happens in the coming months my message is the same: no deal under any circumstances.
“The phony offers of support can end now. The blame game can end now. The unspoken political bond between the SNP and the Tories, the shared investment in division, that ends now.”
The SNP’s for closer ties with the EU come days after the head of Sweden’s second largest party called for more exemptions from EU laws as part of a reset in relations with the 27-member bloc.
Jimmie Akesson said the EU’s ever-expanding power meant “German, Polish or French politicians, in practice decide what car you can buy, how expensive petrol should be and which tree you can cut down on your own property”.
Mr Akesson, whose anti-immigration party has a big influence over Sweden’s right-of-centre government, stopped short of calling for “Swexit” – a version of Britain’s exit from the EU. But he said the EU was heading in the wrong direction.
“Today, there are good reasons to seriously re-evaluate our membership in the union,” he wrote in daily newspaper Aftonbladet.
“Our general elections in Sweden will soon cease to have any significance in Sweden’s development. Naturally, we can’t allow that to happen.”
The latest YouGov poll, conducted on 1 May, shows 84% of Scots and 67% of people across the UK think the UK government is handling Brexit badly, with just 9% of Scots and 22% of people across the UK believing the UK government is handling Brexit well.
A separate poll conducted by Savanta for ITV Peston, between 28 April and 3 May, found 86% of young people across the UK aged 18-25 want to rejoin the EU.