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28th Mar 2019

‘If you don’t back me, I’ll stay’: Nicola Sturgeon bodies Theresa May during FMQs

Scotland's first minister said stopping Brexit is an absolute priority

Oli Dugmore

Nicola Sturgeon bodies Theresa May during first minsiter's questions and says it is now possible to stop Brexit

Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon said stopping Brexit is an absolute priority

Nicola Sturgeon rinsed Theresa May during first minister’s questions today and made the case for staying in the EU while she was at it.

The first minister said the Conservative party was making such a “mess” of the process that pro-EU politicians were being presented with an opportunity to stop Brexit.

Sturgeon also delivered several blistering one liners aimed at Theresa May that might make things a bit awkward the next time the SNP’s leader is in Westminster, provided May is still in Downing Street: “Theresa May must be the only leader in living memory who has tried to fall on her own sword and managed to miss.”

As well as producing the pithy: “It’s traditional for leaders to say to colleagues: ‘If you don’t back me, on an issue of such importance, I might have to resign.’ Not in the Tories though. Theresa May’s position is: ‘If you don’t back me, I’ll stay.'”

The first minister was facing off against interim Tory leader Jackson Carlaw, who is standing in for the commanding Ruth Davidson.

Rinses aside, Sturgeon also said it was “now possible” to stop Brexit: “This whole process thanks to the Tories is now such a mess that stopping Brexit altogether must now be our top priority.

“And moreover that is now possible.

“The way to stand up not just for Scotland’s interests but the interests of the entire UK right now is to recognise that this Brexit process is a complete and utter mess, and put this issue back the people.”

Nicola Sturgeon during first minister's questions at Holyrood today (Credit: Jeff J Mitchell)

Scottish Tory Carlaw hit back at the first minister, accusing her of  “faux outrage” and a “single-minded obsession” with independence.

He said: “When it came to the crunch the First Minister whipped her MPs against supporting her own policy of a customs union.

“Isn’t it the case that what Scotland saw yet again yesterday is then when push comes to shove for the SNP it is not about finding a solution to Brexit it is about pursuing their independence obsession.”