Nicola Sturgeon has called on voters to use Thursday’s European election to show Scotland is “open for business” as she warned of the “catastrophic” impact leaving the single market could have on the economy.
The Scottish First Minister said the benefits of being part of a trading area with 27 other European Union nations risked being “plunged into peril by Brexit”.
While Theresa May has insisted leaving the EU must mean quitting both the single market and customs union, SNP ministers have argued Scotland’s population challenges mean the country needs to attract more working-age people.
Scottish Government research has also warned the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal could lead to a £9 billion GDP fall north of the border by 2030.
Ms Sturgeon said: “The free movement of goods and people across Europe is vital for Scotland’s economic success.
“But those benefits that we all enjoy are plunged into peril by Brexit. ”
Speaking ahead of a visit to a fish processing plant in Aberdeen with SNP MEP candidate Christian Allard, the First Minister added: “The EU accounts for more than half of Scottish exports – worth £15.7 billion to our economy.
“Blocking Scotland from trading freely with the European Union post-Brexit will be catastrophic to businesses here.”
She argued: “The upcoming election provides an opportunity for Scotland’s voice to be heard – a vote for the SNP is a vote to stop Brexit.
“On Thursday, Scotland can send a message that Scotland’s for Europe and we remain open for business.”
French-born Mr Allard, a former SNP MSP, stressed the “freedom of movement for goods and people is essential to Scotland’s future prosperity”.
He said: “Scotland’s future lies in Europe. A vote for the SNP is a vote to make clear Scotland says No to Brexit.”