1. ITV Report

Nicola Sturgeon calls for Theresa May to rule out no deal Brexit

Nicola Sturgeon is planning for a no deal Brexit. Credit: ITV

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has called on Theresa May to take a no deal Brexit off the table.

The Prime Minister is sticking to the idea of the United Kingdom leaving the EU on March 29, leaving many to fear it resulting in a no deal Brexit.

Ms Sturgeon told ITV's Peston Mrs May and her government are being "increasingly reckless and negligent" by not ruling out a no deal Brexit.

Sorry, this content isn't available on your device.

"It’s [a no deal Brexit] not inevitable - the government at UK level should take that prospect off the table, it should rule out no deal and its failure to do so with every day that passes right now becomes increasingly reckless and negligent."

Ms Sturgeon and her colleagues in Scotland spent the majority of Wednesday making plans for a no deal Brexit, including dealing potential issues such as food and medicine shortages.

“Well I’ve spent most of my day engaged in no deal planning, I chaired a meeting of the Scottish Government’s resilience committee, which is more used to dealing with bad weather or the impact of terrorist attacks.

"We’ve been focusing today on how we cope with the implications of no deal and frankly you know that discussion is deeply depressing and very frustrating because it’s not inevitable and we shouldn’t have to be doing it.

"You know to be sitting in peacetime in a prosperous country talking about the possibility of food shortages and medicine shortages is frankly incredible."

To soften the impact of a no deal Brexit, Ms Sturgeon says the Scottish government will have public information campaigns.

"It does put a responsibility on the Scottish Government to increase our planning, we stepped up the level of our planning today.

"We can’t mitigate all impacts of that, the impacts will be so wide-ranging and so severe that it will not be possible to take away all of that impact but it’s important that within our areas of responsibility we’re doing everything that we possibly can and we’re very focused on exactly that.

Sorry, this content isn't available on your device.

“The Scottish Government over the next few weeks will run public information campaigns, we’ll look to give not just advice to households but we will give advice, we already give advice to businesses and to all sectors of the economy.

"Of course there’s a balance we need to strike, we don’t want to unnecessarily worry and scare people, but with every day that passes it’s more important that the implications are understood and that the Scottish Government working with our partners, local government, the business community and others, that we take all possible steps.”

Ms Sturgeon accepted it was no completely in Mrs May's hands as she does not have the power to take no deal off the table and would require to ask the EU for an extension to Article 50.

“Okay, I accept that point, but she should request it and the SNP amendment that will be tabled for tomorrow makes that call on the UK government to request an extension. "I think it is based on you know what I hear from Europe, I think it is unlikely that that would be turned down by the European Union, of course it is more likely to be accepted if that request comes with a clear plan to take a different approach you know it’s not going to help in the medium to long term if an extension is simply to continue this unseemly argument that the House of Commons is engaged in right now because they can’t agree what they want to do, in fact the government’s engaged in that argument, let alone the wider House of Commons.”

  • Peston is broadcast on ITV at 10.45pm on Wednesdays - but you can watch it live on this page at 8pm as the programme is recorded.