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Election 2017: Nicola Sturgeon wants seat at Brexit talks table

19 May 2017

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said: "Nicola Sturgeon is trying to use Brexit as the excuse for another divisive referendum, but won't be straight with people about her position on European Union membership".

She will say it is more vital than ever to have strong SNP voices "standing up for Scotland".

Ms Sturgeon was speaking shortly after Labour launched its manifesto for next month's general election, which she said "directly lifts policies that the SNP is already delivering" including free university tuition, ending hospital parking charges, and the abolition of the so-called Bedroom Tax.

Ms Sturgeon said yesterday she accepted that it was "possible, not necessarily desirable" that for "a period" an independent Scotland would be in Efta.

Nicola Sturgeon has said a vote for the SNP would strengthen Scotland's hand over Brexit and allow her to argue for a seat at the negotiating table.

"Now it may be that we have a phased approach to that by necessity", she added.

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"Now, in a cynical attempt to win back Leave voters who have deserted the SNP, she now refuses to say whether an independent Scotland would go back in". "We have to set that out at the time because there are still some uncertainties, many uncertainties, around the Brexit process", she replied.

Nicola Sturgeon has marked ten years of SNP control of Scotland by admitting that the party is "not perfect" and has not got "everything right" while it has been in government.

She continued, "I hope I'm not being overly optimistic here, I think even the most ultra Brexiteer surely wouldn't want to see a programme like Erasmus end?"

Independence is a major plank of Sturgeon's Scottish National Party (SNP) campaign for the June 8 election, and anything that reinforces Scottish resentment over perceived English arrogance could play into the SNP's hands.

Meanwhile, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie will focus on mental health on a visit Loch Leven Larder in Kinross.

"The nationalists want to drag Scotland out of the United Kingdom but haven't even worked out the basics like currency".

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She denied Scottish education as a whole is going backwards, adding: "On literacy and numeracy we have a particular challenge but on many other measures of Scottish education that is just not true".

Scotland held its first referendum in 2014, when over 55 percent of the people voted against independence.

The "restricted" email is understood to have been written on July 11, 2013 when she was Deputy First Minister.

Ms Dugdale said that while the SNP "has done nothing to stop austerity", Labour's proposals would redistribute wealth across the UK.

In an interview on the BBC, she defended the SNP's overall education record and cited unpublished figures as proof that new statistics are not as grave as they seem.

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Election 2017: Nicola Sturgeon wants seat at Brexit talks table