Scotland politics

SNP offers 'strong voice' in Brexit negotiations

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Media captionThe SNP's Deputy Leader, Angus Robertson, was speaking ahead on the general election on 8 June

A strong SNP contingent in Westminster is essential to protect Scotland's rights in Brexit negotiations, the party's deputy leader has said.

Angus Robertson told the BBC's Sunday Politics Scotland programme the SNP would be a strong voice for Scotland if the Tories won the general election.

Theresa May has already rejected a deal to keep Scotland in the single market.

Mr Robertson also said the party was committed to and had a mandate for a second independence referendum.

"If people in Scotland want Scottish interests to be taken seriously then it would be a good thing that the Scottish government's party could also be directly represented in building the UK's case in relation to the Brexit negotiations," Mr Robertson, the SNP's deputy leader, said.

"For Theresa May to be able to understand that she has to see the people in Scotland vote for that."

He said Scotland needed a "strong voice, to influence negotiations to make sure we don't have the hard, chaotic, damaging Brexit the UK government is heading towards".

Mr Robertson added: "If not, we are not going to see the return of all fisheries powers, or agricultural powers or the kind of support we need in our rural communities."

Earlier this year, Nicola Sturgeon called for the power to hold another independence vote after Theresa May rejected her "compromise" proposals for a deal to keep Scotland in the single market.

"If the people of Scotland determine that they want SNP representatives at Westminster to represent our collective interests we will all have been sent there to stand up for the rights of the Scottish parliament, the Scottish government and the mandate that the people of Scotland gave in the last Scottish parliament election," Mr Robertson said.

"This is an issue that was already determined in the last Scottish parliamentary election.

"The party that went to the county with a manifesto commitment that we should have a choice in this country if we were taken out of the EU against our will... won the election. The parties that opposed that lost the election."

Europe will have a say on what happens after Brexit, Mr Robertson said, adding: "If the other 27 member states are going to be able to determine what Scotland's future should be and its relationship with the rest of Europe, it seems unimaginable that we in this country shouldn't be able to determine our future."

  • BBC Scotland holds its leaders' debate on Sunday at 19:30 on BBC One Scotland. The live broadcast will feature SNP leader and Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon; Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale; Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson; Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie; Scottish Green Party co-leader Patrick Harvie and UKIP Scotland's David Coburn.

The Conservatives, who have campaigned heavily on their opposition to another constitutional ballot, are hopeful of increasing their total of one Scottish MP on 8 June.

Mr Robertson dismissed the view that Tory gains could derail his party's referendum bid.

"The SNP represents most seats in Scotland, not just most, almost every single one, and it's being suggested now if we were theoretically to lose a seat or two somehow we have lost legitimacy and the mandate we would have been given by the electorate of Scotland somehow does not count - that's a very, very strange view of democracy," he said.

The three other main parties represented in the general election, the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats, are committed to maintaining the union. The Liberal Democrats have pledged to offer the UK a second referendum on EU membership.

Prime Minister Theresa May and Scottish Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson pledged to stand up to the Scottish National Party at the launch of the Scottish Conservatives' manifesto last week.

Mrs May said the Conservatives were the "only party" able to stand up to the SNP.

The SNP general election manifesto will be launched on Tuesday.

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale is to launch her party's manifesto in Edinburgh on Monday, and the Scottish Liberal Democrats are also expected to launch their manifesto next week.

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