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New Reform UK Scotland leader Michelle Ballantyne told the Scottish First Minister to resign if she didn’t change the SNP’s policy direction on the bloc. The former Conservative MSP, who previously hoped to be Scottish Tory leader, was revealed as the leader of the new Scottish party this week, backed by Brexiteer Nigel Farage.
It comes as the First Minister is expected to address EU related policy issues at a keynote Irish event later this month.
Ms Sturgeon will make clear Scotland’s “aspiration” is to become independent and join the bloc.
She previously urged Brussels to “leave a light on” for Scotland after 62 percent of Scots voted to remain in the EU in the 2016 referendum.
The First Minister has also reiterated her government’s commitment to a “legal, constitutional route to becoming an independent state”.
The MSP Ms Ballantyne told this publication: “It’s desperation, there is no doubt in my mind when we completed the transition period in December, it was a nail in the coffin for their dream of rejoining the EU.
“The problem with the SNP is they are not capable of running Scotland without somebody behind them.
“If they want to walk away from the UK which they do then they are desperately looking for somebody else to provide that background support.
“They are trying to sell power back to Brussels, it’s time they were a bit more honest about that.
“We are not going back to the EU, it’s ridiculous.
“We need to be positive and make absolutely the best of the opportunities that we now have and if Nicola Sturgeon’s doesn’t want to do that, then she should stand down.”
On the wider concept of the EU, she claimed the bloc needed further political integration in order to be efficient.
She added: “The only way the EU can totally work is if you have a total integration of the political system.
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“It’s a lot for countries in the EU to give up their sovereignty completely.”
She claimed the bloc had started to become “increasingly unstable” during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Reform UK Scotland leader added: “It was always for me a question of, do you stay on the Titanic until the last minute or do you get off.
“I think we will see other countries leaving now.”
Ms Ballantyne describes the new party as being “pro-Scotland and pro the UK”, adding that this was “simply the best choice for the people of these islands”.
She said her new party would make the “positive case for the Union” as she told independence supporters their “dream will deliver chaos” for Scotland.
The MSP had stood for the leadership of the Scottish Conservatives after Ruth Davidson quit in 2019, but lost out to Jackson Carlaw before she quit the party in November 2020, saying after Douglas Ross took over as leader that she was no longer a “good fit” with the Scottish Tories’ political direction.
The party will field candidates on the regional list section during May’s Holyrood election.
In response, SNP MP Christine Grahame said: “It’s no surprise to see Michelle Ballantyne make the jump from one completely out of touch party to another.
“The SNP’s vision of an independent Scotland is inclusive and outward-looking, while Ms Ballantyne’s new party supports a Brexit Britain turning its back on its nearest neighbours, scapegoating migrants, and ignoring the democratic wishes of the people of Scotland.”
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