The Scottish National party has confirmed its MPs will vote against what it called “Boris Johnson’s extreme Tory Brexit” next week, saying the newly agreed deal reinforced the case for Scottish independence.
The expected decision, made following a meeting of the SNP’s Westminster parliamentary group, guarantees at least some formal opposition when the deal is put to the Commons on Wednesday.
The SNP’s Westminster leader, Ian Blackford, said: “Boris Johnson’s extreme Tory Brexit is an unforgivable act of economic vandalism and gross stupidity, which will cause lasting damage to the economy and leave the UK much worse off at the worst possible time – during a pandemic and economic recession.
“Scotland has been completely ignored by Westminster throughout the Brexit process and we are being forced to pay a devastating price. It is clear that the only way to protect Scotland’s interests, and regain the full benefits of EU membership, is to become an independent country.
“This is a very bad deal for Scotland, which will terminate our membership of the EU, rip us out of the world’s largest single market and customs union, end our freedom of movement rights, and impose mountains of red tape, added costs and barriers to trade for Scottish businesses. The blame lies squarely with the Tory government.”
Noting that Keir Starmer has said Labour will support the deal, finalised on Christmas Eve, Blackford said it was evident the plan would be passed anyway, “but it is not being done in our name”.
He said: “Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU. The people of Scotland have a right to determine our own future as an independent European country.”
Labour has expressed disappointment with the deal but will impose a maximum three-line whip for its MPs to vote in favour, with Starmer saying it was vital to prevent a no-deal Brexit.
The stance has prompted opposition among some Labour MPs, with the possibility that some shadow frontbenchers could resign their posts to vote against the plan.
The Liberal Democrats have condemned the deal, but the party’s leader, Ed Davey, has said only that his MPs will “not be supporting it”, rather than explicitly committing to a vote against.
MPs are being recalled to consider and vote on the deal on 30 December, with the government’s aim being for both the Commons and Lords to approve the plan on the same day.