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Scotland’s first minister has said her party will not back Boris Johnson’s fresh attempt to secure a Brexit deal.

Nicola Sturgeon said the prime minister’s plan would still leave Scotland outside of the EU, the single market and customs union.

And she said the proposals “do not look at this stage like they will be acceptable” to the EU.

The Scottish Conservatives claimed Ms Sturgeon’s SNP had “no interest” in the UK securing a deal with the EU.

They said the “real shame” was the first minister “conspiring” to put Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street.

The exchanges at Holyrood came as Mr Johnson – who insists the UK will leave the EU on 31 October with or without a deal – outlined his new proposals to MPs at Westminster.

His plan would see Northern Ireland stay in the European single market for goods but leave the customs union.

The aim is to replace the Irish border “backstop” which was the main reason the withdrawal agreement previously put forward by Theresa May was rejected three times by MPs.

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Mr Johnson says the only alternative to his new plan is leaving the EU without a deal

Mr Johnson insists his proposal are a “genuine attempt to bridge the chasm” – but the European Commission has said there are “problematic points” and “further work is needed”.

Although the plan has been welcomed by the DUP, other political parties in Northern Ireland and business groups have dismissed it.

Speaking at first minister’s questions, Scottish Conservative interim leader Jackson Carlaw challenged Ms Sturgeon over her party’s opposition to the prime minister’s proposals.

Ms Sturgeon responded: “The proposals that were published by the UK government yesterday do not look at this stage like they will be acceptable to the European Union.

“They also seem to break all of the promises that were made to Ireland at the start of the Brexit process, but aside from all of that these proposals would take Scotland out of the European Union, out of the single market and out of the customs union – all against our will.

“And they suggest a much looser relationship with the EU and a much harder Brexit than even that proposed by Theresa May.”

Ms Sturgeon said she would not support the plan and accused Mr Carlaw of being more interested in “standing up for Boris Johnson” than standing up for Scotland.

The prime minister has said his proposals are the only alternative to a no-deal Brexit – but Ms Sturgeon said her alternative was “no Brexit”.

Mr Carlaw insisted there was a need for compromise on all sides of the debate in order to secure a deal before the UK’s scheduled exit date at the end of the month.

He said: “Further dither, delay and uncertainty, and the prospect of Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister – to which this first minister is disgracefully open – is much more damaging to us all than getting this sorted now.

“We are at the 11th hour, there is a need on all sides to compromise if we are going to reach a negotiated settlement, yet the record of this SNP government has been to fail to do so.

“The first minister repeatedly says she will do anything possible to stop no-deal, yet despite three opportunities so far this year, her MPs haven’t ever voted for a deal.”

What is the PM’s plan?

Under Mr Johnson’s proposals, which he calls a “broad landing zone” for a new deal with the EU:

Northern Ireland would leave the EU’s customs union alongside the rest of the UK, at the start of 2021

But Northern Ireland would, with the consent of politicians in the Northern Ireland Assembly, continue to apply EU legislation relating to agricultural and other products – what he calls an “all-island regulatory zone”

This arrangement could, in theory, continue indefinitely, but the consent of Northern Ireland’s politicians would have to be sought every four years

Customs checks on goods traded between the UK and EU would be “decentralised”, with paperwork submitted electronically and only a “very small number” of physical checks

These checks should take place away from the border itself, at business premises or at “other points in the supply chain”

The government is also promising a “New Deal for Northern Ireland”, with financial commitments to help manage the changes.



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