September 21, 2018 / 1:59 PM / 2 months ago

Political price of no-deal Brexit would be high - Sturgeon

Scotland's first minister Nicola Sturgeon speaks at the inauguration of the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) off Aberdeen, Scotland, Britain Sep 7, 2018. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

EDINBURGH (Reuters) - Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives would pay a high political price for a no-deal Brexit in Scotland, which voted to keep its EU membership, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said.

The Conservatives are the second-largest party in Scotland’s devolved government behind Sturgeon’s Scottish Nationalists (SNP) and also send the second-biggest number of lawmakers to the British parliament, with 13 of the country’s 55 seats at Westminster.

May has challenged the European Union to come up with a better solution than her so-called Chequers proposal for Brexit, rejected out of hand at a European summit on Thursday.

“If (May’s) tactic now is to double down on the Chequers dead duck, and then blame EU for a no deal, she will do huge damage to all those she is supposed to serve,” Sturgeon said in a statement on Friday.

“(Blaming the EU for a no-deal) would be an abdication of responsibility of huge and historic proportions and an approach for which Theresa May and the Tory party would pay a very heavy political price, especially in Scotland, which overwhelmingly rejected Brexit,” she added.

Scotland, one of the United Kingdom’s four nations, voted by a large margin to remain in the EU in a June 2016 referendum although the UK as a whole voted to leave.

Sturgeon, who supports independence for Scotland, accuses May’s party of consistently ignoring Scots’ wishes in the Brexit negotiations and has called on her to keep Britain in the EU single market.

Reporting by Elisabeth O'Leary; editing by Stephen Addison

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