The irony! Sturgeon’s SNP MPs to vote AGAINST Article 50 saying they don’t want ISOLATION

NICOLA Sturgeon’s SNP MPs will “absolutely” vote against the triggering of Article 50, Scotland’s minister for Brexit Mike Russell has said.

The Government minister said if the party’s MPs, lead by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, voted in support of leaving the European Union they would be endorsing Prime Minister Theresa May’s vision of an “isolationist” Britain.This comes despite them signalling an independence referendum to remove themselves from the British union, should the UK head for a hard Brexit.

Mrs Sturgeon had previously said a move by the Prime Minister to remove the UK from the EU it would “undoubtedly” make the need to hold a second referendum more likely.

Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of ScotlandGetty

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

According to Mr Russell a ‘hard’ Brexit – where ties with the EU were completely severed – would give those campaigning for Scottish independence a “winning progress” should another vote be held.However, another Scottish referendum would have to be agreed by Westminster before it could have any legitimacy.

Scotland’s Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe insisted that in the present circumstances “I don’t think there is any possibility of the SNP MPs supporting the Article 50 Bill.”

He added: “Endorsing Article 50 is not just endorsing the vote in the United Kingdom – and of course the vote in Scotland was very different – it’s actually endorsing the type of position Theresa May has taken on the type of Brexit she wants, and that’s endorsing the type of country she wants.

“She wants an isolationist country, she wants a country that is inward looking and she wants a country which is rejecting the benefits of migration.

“That’s not the country any of us want to see Scotland being and that is one of the strongest reasons for saying we reject it.”The Holyrood administration has put forward a paper setting out various options aimed at trying to mitigate against the impact of Brexit.

One option proposed is that Scotland stays in the EU while the rest of the union leaves, this though would put Mrs Sturgeon on a direct collision course with Mrs May who as indicated that it is not an option.

Mr Russell said: “We still haven’t seen the workings that Theresa May used to say we shouldn’t be in the single market – and the reason we haven’t seen them is they can’t exist.”

He added: “We have said that we really want to try to get a negotiated solution, we’ve put everything into that and it doesn’t appear as if that is being treated with the respect it deserves or indeed with the consideration it merits, because this is a very well worked out series of proposals.”

However Mr Russell denied that the SNP’s stance was not a “threat”.

He said: “There’s no threat being made, we said at the beginning of this process there were a serious of options that needed to be considered, we went through them very carefully.

Mike Russell congratulates Alex SalmondGetty

Mike Russell pats Alec Salmond on the back in 2014

“We also said there is a democratic mandate, which there is, to hold another independence referendum should we be taken out of Europe against our will, that was actually in the manifesto.”But Scottish Tory chief whip John Lamont said: “The comments from Mike Russell today simply confirm what we have long suspected, that the SNP has no interest in working constructively with the UK Government on Brexit.

“The Prime Minister has made it clear that she wants a deal that works for all parts of the UK, but the SNP are intent only on creating further division.

“The increasingly bullish remarks from senior SNP figures on independence are an affront to the majority of Scots who have no interest in a second referendum and do not support separation.”

Jean-Claude Juncker, the EU bossGetty

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker

Meanwhile, sources said the UK Government had drawn up “around four drafts” of possible legislation to rush through Parliament if it loses the case.Any Bill would be short to help rush it through the Commons and Lords in time to invoke Article 50 by Mrs May’s deadline of the end of March.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s stance on the issue remained mired in confusion as he again refused to say if he will make his MPs back the start of Leave talks.

He said only that he would “ask” dozens of mutinous troops to respect the result of last June’s referendum – and signalled his determination to muddy the waters by placing new demands on the Government.

Asked if he would impose a full three-line whip, he told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “I will ask all Labour MPs to respect the result of the referendum and allow Article 50 to be opened so we start that two-year, probably longer, period of negotiation.”

But he also vowed Labour would table amendments to get guarantees on issues like workers’ rights, environmental protection and access to the single market. That could slow matters down if given time for debate and votes.

Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer told ITV’s Peston on Sunday: “I’m not going to pretend that this isn’t difficult for the Labour Party.

“There are colleagues in the parliamentary Labour Party who are very concerned, as I am, about the outcome of the referendum.”

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