Jackson Carlaw: Scottish Conservatives would not support Brexit delay

Jackson Carlaw Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Jackson Carlaw said he would support a no-deal Brexit

A further delay to the UK’s departure from the EU would not be supported by the Scottish Conservatives, according to their interim leader.

Jackson Carlaw, who replaced Ruth Davidson earlier this year, also confirmed that the party had dropped its opposition to a no-deal Brexit.

However, he said his preferred option was for the UK to leave the EU with a deal on 31 October.

When she was leader Ms Davidson would not support leaving without a deal.

She pushed for an agreement that would mean the UK remained part of the European Single Market and Customs Union.

Meanwhile, Nicola Sturgeon condemned the Scottish Conservatives‘ new stance on no-deal, accusing them of “putting the demands of Boris Johnson ahead of the interests of the Scottish people”.

Speaking to Good Morning Scotland on BBC Radio Scotland, Mr Carlaw said a delay would be more damaging than resolving the issue.

“We need to work as hard as we can with our European partners to secure that deal, but if at the end of that process, [along with] our European partners, we aren’t able to arrive at a fresh arrangement, then I think the time has come where we have to prepare to leave,” he said.

“Another extension, another three months, with nobody really agreeing on what they would do during that [time] or what the outcome would be, is far more damaging for Scotland, for the United Kingdom and for business, for everybody, than finally getting to a point where we resolve this issue and move on.”

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Jackson Carlaw was made interim leader after Ruth Davidson stepped down in August

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has previously said he would rather be “dead in a ditch” than ask EU leaders for a further extension to Article 50.

But a new law has been introduced designed to prevent a no-deal EU exit.

Introduced by Labour’s Hilary Benn, it requires Mr Johnson to request a three-month Brexit delay by 19 October.

‘Challenges and difficulties’

Mr Carlaw has also signalled a change in direction for the party which, under Ruth Davidson’s leadership, strongly opposed a no-deal Brexit.

Speaking on the BBC’s Sunday Politics Scotland, he said a “tremendous amount of work” had taken place to ensure the UK could “cope with the challenges”.

“I’m not one of those who’s argued the world will fall in if no deal is where we end up,” he added.

“I think it presents challenges and difficulties which we will have to overcome… I believe that the work that is being done now to prepare for no deal means that although those challenges will still be considerable, if that’s what we have to do, then that is what we will do.

“Although that’s not my preferred option, I will support the prime minister if that’s where we have to be.”

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SNP MP Pete Wishart said the Scottish Conservatives had “fallen into line behind their Westminster bosses”.

“It is shameful that not a single Scottish Tory can bring themselves to stand up for Scotland against an extreme Brexit – even at this critical moment for our country,” he added.

“The so-called leadership of the Scottish Tories have steadily abandoned all of their principles to fully sign up to Boris Johnson’s no-deal Brexit – with all the disastrous consequences that would have for Scotland’s jobs, our economy and our public services.”



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