Nicola Sturgeon pledges to lead fight against 'hard Brexit'

Leader says right-wing Conservatives are using Brexit as 'licence for the xenophobia that has long lain under the surface'

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Indy Politics

Scotland’s First Minister has pledged to lead the fight against “hard Brexit”, attacking the “right wing” Conservative government in Westminster.

Nicola Sturgeon opened her party’s annual conference in Glasgow on Thursday  by warning that the “right wing of the Tory Party is now in the ascendancy” and that it wanted to “hijack” the referendum result”.

Ms Sturgeon also opened her speech by “warmly congratulating” MP Angus Robertson on his election as her depute leader, which was announced minutes before. 

The party leader’s comments come after she attacked the Government for plans to force businesses to list foreigners, which have since been dropped.

“Last week, we heard an intolerance towards those from other countries that has no place in a modern, multicultural, civilised society,” she told party delegates.

“It was a disgrace. It shames the Tory Party and all who speak for it.

“But make no mistake - the right wing of the Tory Party is now in the ascendancy and it is seeking to hijack the referendum result. Brexit has become Tory Brexit.

“They are using it as licence for the xenophobia that has long lain under the surface - but which is now in full view.

“They are holding it up as cover for a hard Brexit that they have no mandate for - but which they are determined to impose, regardless of the ruinous consequences.

“I suspect that many of those who voted to Leave now look at the actions and rhetoric of the Tories and think 'that's not what I voted for'.

“They may have voted to take back control - but I don't imagine many of them are happy to have handed that control to Boris Johnson, David Davis and Liam Fox.

“They certainly didn't vote to throw economic rationality out of the window. They didn't vote to lower their own living standards or to sacrifice jobs and investment. They didn't vote for our businesses to face tariffs or for holiday-makers to need visas. They didn't vote for the scapegoating of foreigners.”

She pledged that SNP MPs in Westminster would vote against the Government’s so-called “Great Repeal Bill” because Scotland voted to Remain.

Opposition parties said Ms Sturgeon should use her conference to abandon talk of a second Scottish independence referendum. 

All recent poll show the SNP maintaining its dominance of Scottish politics, despite losing its majority in the Scottish Parliament at elections earlier this year.

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