She was questioned about the local effects of Brexit during a Q&A session led by the convenors of Scottish Parliament committees.
Concerns were expressed at reports of the risk of smuggling and organised crime in the event of a no-deal Brexit, which is now more likely given the election pact between Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage.
The First Minister spoke about the plans for an emergency lorry park in Stranraer in case of a backlog of vehicles and revealed that she had been having discussions with Police Scotland about the risks that face the area and other parts of Scotland.
The First Minister also warned of Tariffs of 65% on beef and 46% on sheep meats in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
Speaking at the meeting, Nicola Sturgeon said:
“The path the UK Government wants us to go down is fraught with risk and just guarantees either a no-deal Brexit or years of more of the same wrangling we’ve experienced the past three.
“There is definitely a risk, with a no-deal scenario, of organised crime and smuggling around Stranraer and the points of access to Northern Ireland. These are issues that have been under very close and regular discussion.”
Roads in south west Scotland, in particular the A75 and A76, were very much on her agenda for future infrastructure projects. The First Minister told conveners ‘South Scotland has a particularly strong case to make’ with regards to upgrading roads infrastructure.
Ms. Sturgeon said that while the climate emergency meant Government policy would try to find alternatives to road travel, she recognised that road improvements were still necessary in the rural south and north of Scotland. She was answering a question in relation to a petition filed by roads campaigners in Dumfries and Galloway, and she promised to write to the committee outlining how Government plans to deal with the petition’s demands.
The argument is as follows:
A “Brexit Pact” between these two guys, Nigel Farage MEP and Boris Johnson MP, will have devastating consequences for the economy of south west Scotland, which already has one of the lowest average salaries in Scotland.
Those two guys are Brexiteers and by having this pact it would make “no-deal” more likely, which is what the Brexiteers really want.
The current UK Government plans for “no-deal” would drop tariffs on the import of cheap food, but impose tariffs on agricultural exports such as beef, lamb, and eggs.
This will result in many farms in Dumfries and Galloway going out of business and will increase congestion in Cairnryan and Stranraer, along with the possibility of smuggling.
Everyone in Dumfries and Galloway should know about this significant risk to the region’s economy, and that the Conservative and Unionist Party Candidates for Dumfries and Galloway and Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale are actively trying to bring this huge risk about, while fighting hard to prevent you from having any say in it whatsoever.
Their stock is so low that they are in the absurd position of trying to persuade you as a constituent of Dumfries and Galloway that having no choice over your future, and preventing the opportunity for having a choice about your future, is a good thing for you and future generations.