European single market is too important to lose, Scottish first minister tells SNP manifesto launch ahead of June 8 polls
Speaking at her Scottish National Party (SNP) manifesto launch in Perth, Sturgeon underlined that the Europe’s single market is far too important to Scotland’s economy to lose.
The manifesto launch was delayed due to last week's suicide bomb attack in Manchester, which killed 22 people, including seven children.
Sturgeon reiterated her party’s view on a second independence vote, saying the country must have a choice at the end of Brexit negotiations with the EU, signaling a new referendum on Scottish independence.
She previously had said a new independence referendum would be held between autumn 2018 and spring 2019 after the terms of Brexit were clear but before a final deal was signed.
“The European single market, already the world’s biggest, represents a massive opportunity for these areas of Scottish strength: in the digital economy, the services sector, energy, retail, the green and knowledge economy, the single market is still a work in progress, with huge potential still to be unlocked,” she said.
“That means a huge, potential economic prize for Scotland. It means a world of opportunity for our young people,” she added.
However, she said, “Brexit will put this at risk.”
She said: “That is why I believe so strongly that at the end of the Brexit process -- not now, but when the terms of the deal are known; Scotland must have a choice about our future -- a choice between following the U.K. down the Brexit path or becoming an independent country.
“There is just too much at stake for Brexit simply to be imposed on Scotland, no matter how damaging it turns out to be,” she added.
‘Future decided by us’
Telling the party members and followers that Scotland’s “future must be decided by us, not for us,” the SNP leader also said a strong presence is the only way to stand up to the Conservative Party in the parliament. She said an SNP majority would reinforce their mandate against the leading party.
“And in these circumstances, any continued Tory attempts to block Scotland having a choice -- when the time is right and the options are clear - would be democratically unsustainable,” she added.
The SNP won 54 of the 59 available Scottish seats in the last parliament.
A majority of Scottish voters (62 percent) opted to remain in the EU in last summer’s referendum, which began the end of the U.K.'s membership in the union after 44 years.
British voters will go to polls on June 8 to elect a new government that will lead the country through Brexit negotiations with the EU.