Nicola Sturgeon sends 'unequivocal message' to Theresa May as she launches SNP EU election campaign

Credit: Jane Barlow/PA

Leader of the SNP Nicola Sturgeon has said "Scotland does not want Brexit", as she launched her party's European Election campaign in Edinburgh.

She asked supporters to send an "unequivocal message to Theresa May" by voting SNP and showing the prime minister "that Scotland is for Europe".

The first minister demanded any Brexit deal must be put back to the people in a second referendum as she joined the party’s six election candidates at the launch.

She said: “Let me make the SNP position crystal clear: if a Brexit deal is agreed at Westminster, it must be put back to the people.

“No ifs, no buts, the people must have the final say.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at the launch of the SNP’s campaign at Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh Credit: Jane Barlow/PA

Discussing the position of Labour and the Conservatives, Ms Sturgeon claimed both want a hard Brexit and she described their closeness as “depressing”.

She warned against “shady backroom deals” [between the Prime Minister and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.](http://Sturgeon pledges huge campaign to woo Scotland on economics of independence)

She added: “If the Labour Party becomes the handmaiden of a Tory Brexit, it will never be forgiven. Not in Scotland and not by hundreds of thousands of young people the length and breadth of the UK.”

Describing the vote on May 23 as “by far the most important European election in Scotland’s history”, she said: “At stake is not just which parties and which candidates will be elected to the European Parliament, at stake also is whether Scotland can remain inside the European Union at all.

“By voting SNP, people in Scotland can send a clear and unequivocal message to Theresa May that we are determined to do so; that Scotland is for Europe.

Ms Sturgeon called for any Brexit deal to be put to a second referendum Credit: Jane Barlow/PA

“The message we will send is this one: Scotland has had enough of being ignored, Scotland has had enough of the Westminster chaos, and Scotland does not want Brexit.”

Speaking at Dynamic Earth near the Scottish Parliament, Ms Sturgeon added: “The fact is that this Tory Government now thinks they can do anything to Scotland and get away with it. We must prove them wrong.”

She also claimed the perceived treatment of Scotland by the UK Government during the Brexit process has highlighted the case for Scottish independence.

“The solidarity shown by the European Union to Ireland has shone a light on exactly why Scotland should be an independent country,” she said.

Scottish Conservative deputy leader Jackson Carlaw responded to the SNP’s campaign launch, saying: “Nicola Sturgeon’s grievance-laden speech is yet further evidence of her real priority – not to come up with a sensible plan to deliver Brexit, but to use Brexit to push her only priority, another referendum on independence.

“These elections on May 23 are our chance to say no to Nicola Sturgeon and no to any more referendums – whether on independence or the European Union.

“The choice is clear: Nicola Sturgeon has never met a referendum result she accepts.

“Our position is to respect the results of the referendum and get on with delivering a deal that backs our fishermen and our businesses, so we can all move on.”