THE SNP has called for the issue of membership of the EU single market to go “back on the table” in the wake of the shock General Election result.
Theresa May has previously ruled out Scotland staying part of the powerful trading block after Brexit, claiming it would create unacceptable trade barriers within the UK.
But the SNP is now saying the Prime Minister’s failure to win a majority means all of her previous positions on Brexit should be revisited now the House of Commons has far fewer pro-Brexit MPs.
Last week, Jeremy Corbyn also called for the Prime Minister to tell all EU nationals living in the UK that they will be allowed to stay after Brexit talks conclude.
SNP MP Stephen Gethins said: “The election result was a comprehensive rejection of the Tory plans for an extreme Brexit – and single market membership must now be back on the table.
“Theresa May couldn’t have been clearer. She called this election to secure a mandate for her negotiating position, and the electorate snubbed her.
“The Tories expected to come back with a thumping big majority – but instead, they’ve come back weakened and reliant on the votes of the DUP.
“Scotland needs a seat at the negotiations to leave the EU – and it’s time for the Tories to ditch their plans for an extreme Brexit.”
European leaders are insistent that Britain begins Brexit negotiation talks on June 19.
European Council President Donald Tusk has said that there is “no time to lose” to start the Brexit talks and finish process within the strict two-year timetable.
EU Commission Chief Jean-Claude Juncker has also expressed hopes there will be no delays. However, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator has said talks should only begin when the UK is ready.
Reacting to the result, Michel Barnier said: “The timetable and EU positions are clear. Let’s put our minds together on striking a deal.”
But Theresa May has been warned that it would be “absolutely unacceptable” to water down her Brexit objectives following the General Election result.
The Prime Minister lost her majority and Ukip lost its leader in a disastrous General Election for both parties.
But Steve Crowther, who is standing in as Ukip leader following Paul Nuttall’s resignation, said an end to freedom of movement must be secured in the Brexit talks.
Mr Crowther said: “Though she is personally damaged as our negotiator, the suggestion that Mrs May’s dismal electoral performance relieves the Government of the need to achieve full Brexit is absolutely unacceptable.
“The people voted last year to leave the EU, full stop. Mrs May’s incompetent electioneering makes not the slightest difference to that. If the Conservative-DUP Government thinks it can backslide on this, it will rapidly find that it is mistaken.”
Meanwhile, contenders for the vacant role of Westminster leader have started to emerge within the SNP ranks.
Angus Robertson last week lost his seat at Moray and as the third party in Westminster, the SNP need a replacement for the top job which involves quizzing the Prime Minister every week.
Among the names being touted are Tommy Shephard, Stephen Gethins and Hannah Bardell.
Elsewhere, Scottish Labour’s election campaign manager James Kelly has said it is time for the SNP to drop plans for a second independence referendum.
He said: “Nicola Sturgeon was sent a clear message on Thursday: get back to the day job.
“Scots are fed up with her performance running our schools, which have 4000 fewer teachers, our hospitals, which have unacceptable waiting times, and our public services, with £170 million being cut from budgets this year alone.
Enjoy the convenience of having The Sunday Post delivered as a digital ePaper straight to your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Subscribe for only £5.49 a month and enjoy all the benefits of the printed paper as a digital replica.Subscribe