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After secretly lowering her resignation threat over Brexit and Northern Ireland, NICOLA Sturgeon has accused Ruth Davidson of exchanging her values for a position in the House of Lords.
After she left Holyrood after the two clashed at the caucus meeting, the First Minister attacked the Tories’ group leader, who is expected to become a peer after May’s victory.
At the Holyrood inquiry into the Alex Salmond case, Ms. Davidson peppered Ms. Sturgeon with questions regarding the controversial testimony of her husband.
Ms. Sturgeon later reminded her opponent of a letter that she wrote with then-Scottish Minister David Mundell to then-Tory Prime Minister Theresa May in October 2018.
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If Brexit led to a distinct arrangement for Northern Ireland and threatened the union, the then-Scottish Tory leader and Mr. Mundell indicated they could resign.
They wrote: “Having struggled to keep our country together just four years ago, in these negotiations, the integrity of our United Kingdom remains the most significant issue for us.”
The dignity of our Single Market and of the United Kingdom will be compromised by any arrangement providing for a differentiated settlement for Northern Ireland beyond the disparities currently occurring on an all-Ireland basis (e.g. agriculture) or falling under the terms of the Belfast Agreement.
“We could not support an agreement that creates a border of any kind in the Irish Sea and undermines the Union or results in Northern Ireland having a different relationship with the EU than the rest of the UK beyond what currently exists.”
This week, the British government reached an agreement with the EU on the Ireland-Northern Ireland border, which would bring the latter within the United Kingdom under a specific regime.
Ms. Sturgeon said, “Exactly what Ruth Davidson said, I will quote.”
“She said she could not accept an arrangement that… results in Northern Ireland having a different relationship with the EU than the rest of the United Kingdom, beyond what currently exists. “This would clearly ‘undermine the legitimacy of our single market and this United Kingdom,’ he said.”
“I can only speculate that it’s amazing what the offer of a seat in the House of Lords can do to change someone’s mind.”
It would be hard for Ms. Davidson to step down as party leader, a Tory source said, as she had already done so in 2019, when she cited disagreements over Brexit with Boris Johnson.
Earlier, in response to Green MP Patrick Harvie, who raised fears that Brexit could threaten the supply of drugs between the EU and the UK after this year, Ms. Sturgeon said she was highly worried about the breakdown of the current trade talks and the possibility of no deal.
She said, “I am deeply and increasingly concerned about the lack of clarity on the arrangements to be implemented just weeks away at the end of the Brexit transition period.”
We’re exactly one year after the general election when the prime minister said his offer was ‘oven-ready.’ We’re here now, not knowing if there’s ever going to be an agreement.
If there is an agreement, it will be a bare minimum and a minimalist one, and the Scottish economy and society will suffer real harm. I am extremely worried about that.
She said there are plans to stockpile a supply of medications, medical supplies and clinical consumables for six weeks, as well as a permanent supply of Covid vaccine after Jan. 1.
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In January, historically the busiest time of year for the health service, Mr. Harvie then said Brexit and Covid-19 would be a “perfect storm” for the NHS.
He said, “Scotland is being forced against our will by Brexit, but it is up to the First Minister to ensure that our NHS can cope.” We desperately need guarantees that this rash Tory decision would not impede access to essential medicines and PPE.