Ian Murray: How the Tories threaten to break up the United Kingdom

THE SNP thrives on grievance. Rather than govern in the public interest, Nicola Sturgeon will always seize the opportunity to blame Westminster for Scotland’s ills.

The problem is that the Tories repeatedly hand them that opportunity.

The Nationalists are dreaming of a hard Brexit: they couldn’t care less about the impact on jobs in England or Wales; they just want another excuse to drum up support for Scottish independence.

And with the Chequers plan delivering just that – a hard Brexit – the Prime Minister has played right into Nicola Sturgeon’s hands.

Today, the Tory government has called a debate in the Commons on “strengthening the Union”. At the moment, it is the Tories who are weakening the Union.

By careering towards the cliff-edge of a hard Brexit, the UK Government is creating divisions that risk tearing apart the fabric of the United Kingdom. That’s why the Tories are now as big a threat to the Union as the SNP.

There is no such thing as a good Brexit. But if the Tories truly cared about the Union, they would back a soft Brexit that keeps us in the Single Market and a customs union – protecting jobs, preventing a hard border with Ireland, and depriving the SNP of its grievance campaign.

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There’s a reason that senior SNP figures aren’t backing a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal: they know it could damage their quest to break-up Britain.

Those of us who care about the poorest in society must continue to fight against both the Tories’ hard Brexit and the SNP’s hard independence.

The SNP’s Growth Commission report has exposed the alarming scale of austerity in an independent Scotland.

Today’s analysis from These Islands shows that the blueprint would have slashed public spending by up to £66 billion over the last decade.

With Jacob Rees-Mogg claiming it could take 50 years for Brexit to be an economic success, and independence requiring 25 years of austerity just to catch up with other countries, we deserve better than two governments prepared to sacrifice a generation of Scots.

Ian Murray is the Labour MP for Edinburgh South

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