Nicola Sturgeon uses second heavy defeat for Theresa May Brexit plan to bang drum for independence

Nicola Sturgeon immediately used the crushing second Commons defeat for Theresa May’s Brexit plan to push for another independence referendum.

The First Minister said the “the case for Scotland becoming an independent country has never been stronger” after MPs overwhelmingly rejected the Prime Minister’s agreement.

As dailyrecord reports Speaking after the vote – which saw MPs reject the UK Government’s proposals by 391 to 242 – the Scottish First Minister said the Brexit plan had ignored “the needs and voice” of Scotland and left the entire UK “poised on a cliff edge”.

The First Minister insisted Theresa May “definitively” rule out the “catastrophe” of a no-deal Brexit and warned that the UK had been left with a Government which has “effectively ceased to function”.

She called on MPs to vote against a no-deal Brexit when this comes before the Commons and to extend the Article 50 timetable – but also made clear again the SNP’s support for a People’s Referendum.

May had taken her Brexit deal back to MPs for a second “meaningful vote” after reaching agreement European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Strasbourg that the UK cannot be trapped in the controversial backstop arrangement indefinitely.

Although the 149 margin was reduced from the record 230-vote defeat of the first “meaningful vote” in January, May was left far adrift from a majority with just 17 days to go to the scheduled date of Brexit on March 29.

Scottish Secretary David Mundell said he was “disappointed, but not surprised” with the result.

But Sturgeon said: “The Prime Minister and the UK Government should be hanging their heads in shame this evening.

“Tonight’s outcome was entirely predictable, and if they had been prepared to listen at any stage and engage constructively instead of simply pandering to Brexit extremists, they could have avoided it.

“Instead, we now have a Government that has effectively ceased to function and a country that remains poised on a cliff edge.”

The First Minister continued: “The votes now scheduled for the coming days will now give Parliament the chance to definitively reject the catastrophe of no-deal and to allow for more time for a sensible way forward to be found.

“But the Prime Minister should definitively rule out no-deal, instead of offering a free vote on the issue.”

Sturgeon argued that ruling out a no-deal Brexit, and extending the deadline beyond March 29 would enable the public to have their say on May’s proposals in a second referendum.

“We will support any such referendum, provided it has the option to remain in the EU on the ballot paper,” she said.

With Sturgeon also having committed to set out her thinking on the possibility of a second Scottish independence referendum in the coming weeks, when there is more clarity on Brexit, she said that “Scotland’s needs and voice have been ignored by the UK Government” during the negotiations to leave the EU.

The SNP leader added: “Today a handful of DUP MPs held more sway over Scotland’s future than our own national Parliament – that demonstrates more clearly than ever that the case for Scotland becoming an independent country has never been stronger.”

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