UK faces ‘winter of discontent’ in wake of Brexit, says Scotland's Deputy First Minister

Britain faces a “winter of discontent” after the Tories pushed Brexit and pulled Britain out of the European Union, Scotland’s Deputy First Minister will warn.

Since supermarkets have already had problems with shortages, John Swinney will argue that such problems show how “Westminster doesn’t work”.

The Scottish Deputy Prime Minister will use his speech at the national SNP conference to denounce the “muscular union spirit” of Boris Johnson’s Conservative government – adding that the Prime Minister and his colleagues simply “don’t have the wits to go along with to keep up with the muscles ”.

The Westminster government will “plaster the country with union flags” and “take every opportunity to undermine the Scottish government,” Mr Swinney said.

The Deputy First Minister will condemn the Conservatives for pushing Brexit amid the coronavirus pandemic, telling SNP delegates that “there may be no better example of Union Scotland failing than the sad Brexit -Saga”.

Mr Swinney will say: “Despite the warnings, against the will of the Scottish people and in the grip of a pandemic, the Tories have made the toughest rifts.

“Boris Johnson once spoke of Brexit and the ‘sunlit meadows behind it,’ but the reality he delivered is that food is rotting in the fields because there is no one to pick it.

“The end of freedom of movement and the draconian crackdown on migration from the EU were a disaster for the economy – not just here in Scotland, but across the UK.

“Perhaps the most obvious example is the empty shelves in our supermarkets. But the staff shortage is starting to bite across the economy.

“Last month we saw the rather extraordinary news that the NHS in England had to order general practitioners to cancel blood tests because of acute supply shortages.”

Mr Swinney will continue to warn: “Every sector will feel the chill wind caused by Brexit. And there is no end in sight.

“The Tories are unwilling and unable to take the simple steps necessary to correct the problem they are causing. Britain is facing a winter of discontent and Westminster is not working. “

Empty supermarket shelves

The UK’s so-called “Winter of Discontent” came in the late 1970s, when strikes and industrial action were exacerbated by the coldest winter in 16 years, with storms isolating some more remote areas of the UK.

The then Labor government came under increasing pressure when Prime Minister James Callaghan was defeated by the Conservative Margaret Thatcher in May 1979.

Referring to that time, the Tories accused the SNP of “ramping up the division to distract from their decade of disasters that have struck our schools, hospitals, workplaces, shops, ferries and pretty much everything else in Scotland”.

Scottish Conservative health spokeswoman Annie Wells said: “The SNP blames Brexit for everything because they have nothing else to say.

“No new ideas on how to deal with the drug deaths crisis they created, nothing to help the companies they’ve targeted for years, and no plans to cut shocking ambulance waits.”

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