Scotland should demand single market access after NI deal, says Yousaf

Scotland should “demand” access to the EU single market after Rishi Sunak’s new deal over Northern Ireland, SNP leadership candidate Humza Yousaf has said.

Speaking at the first hustings in the party’s leadership contest in Cumbernauld, Mr Yousaf asked “how dare (the UK Government)” tell Scotland it cannot have access to the single market while touting the benefits of the new deal – dubbed the Windsor Framework.

The agreement – struck this week – removes the protocol’s barriers on trade across the Irish Sea and hands a “veto” to politicians in Stormont on EU law, a set of concessions from Brussels that went further than many expected.

Speaking to SNP members at the hustings, Mr Yousaf said Scotland should be “demanding” access to the single market, “not asking” for it.

He also said the party should make sure clips of the Prime Minister “extolling the virtues of the deal” are broadcast “in every single living room” in Scotland.

“It makes the argument for us,” he said.

“How dare they? How dare they stop us from having what Northern Ireland has when our people voted resoundingly to stay within the European Union.”

Mr Yousaf added that party members should not stop “reminding people of the harm Brexit has done”.

Fellow SNP leadership candidate Ash Regan also told attendees at the event on Wednesday night she believed Scotland should consider joining the European Free Trade Association as a precursor to rejoining the EU if Scotland becomes independent.

Her position closely aligns to that held by Alex Salmond’s Alba Party, as do others touted by the former community safety minister, including on her approach to gender reforms and the holding of a constitutional convention on Scottish independence.

While the event was marked by the broad agreement on several topics from the candidates, the most stark divergence between the trio was on how to handle the Scottish Government’s gender reforms.

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