ONLY the SNP can fight Brexit as Labour and the Tories unite to leave the EU, Nicola Sturgeon told voters yesterday as she launched her party’s European elections fight.

Speaking at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh, Sturgeon told gathered broadcasters it is “depressingly” striking to see the rivals unite on a pro-Brexit line.

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Urging Scots to back her party’s “optimistic, positive vision of Scotland’s future as a proud European nation,” she went on: “On this defining issue of our time, Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May have so much more in common than they like to pretend. They both want to take Scotland and the UK out of the European Union.

“There is no escaping the fact that Labour is a pro-Brexit party, just as the Tories are a pro-Brexit party.

“They both favour a hard Brexit with Scotland not just removed from the European Union, but removed from the single market as well.

“But Labour should be in no doubt – if the Labour Party becomes the handmaiden of a Tory Brexit, it will never be forgiven, not in Scotland and not by hundreds and thousands of young people the length and breadth of the UK.”

The First Minister described the May 23 European Parliament vote as the most important of its kind in Scotland’s history and hailed her party’s six candidates as “a team who will fight for what Scotland needs in Europe” on fishing, farming and for young people.

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She also emphasised the importance of EU membership to independent countries “of Scotland’s size”, such as Finland and Croatia, both of which are in line to take up the presidency of the EU.

On the meaning of an SNP vote, Sturgeon said: “The message we will send is this one: Scotland has had enough of being ignored, Scotland has had enough of the Westminster chaos and Scotland does not want Brexit.”

Responding to Sturgeon’s speech, Scottish Tory deputy leader Jackson Carlaw said: “Nicola Sturgeon’s grievance-laden speech is yet further evidence of her real priority – not to come up with a sensible plan to deliver Brexit, but to use Brexit to push her only priority, another referendum on independence.”

Edinburgh was also the stage for the Scottish LibDems’ launch, where leader Willie Rennie posed with a lobster during a visit to a fishmonger.

Last week his party colleagues in England and Wales made major gains at council elections, and now hope to consolidate that support and send their candidates to Brussels.

Stating that voters are “fed up with Brexit,” which he said has “caused division in our country,” Rennie added: “Voters now have the chance to make that stop by voting for the LibDems.

“Brexit is bad for us, however you look at it. Our economy is in jeopardy, business needs to trade without new barriers, Airbus is already leaving and farmers can’t get the seasonal workers they need.

“Our public services are under threat – hundreds of thousands of EU nationals live in Scotland. We rely on them to staff our hospitals and schools and we want them to feel welcome here.

“Finally, our security is at risk. Our police need to work with European police forces. We can’t risk peace in Northern Ireland and we want to work with the whole of Europe to keep us safe from climate change.

“A vote for the LibDems is a positive vote to solve these problems, prove the UK is an outward-looking country and remain in the EU.”

Meanwhile, launching Labour’s European Parliament election campaign in Chatham, Kent, Jeremy Corbyn said he wants to see another vote on Brexit “as a healing process bringing this whole process to a conclusion”.

The National: Jeremy Corbyn didn't paint an optimistic picture of negotiations with the ToriesJeremy Corbyn didn't paint an optimistic picture of negotiations with the Tories

Corbyn said the UK Government has so far failed to make a “big offer” in ongoing cross-party talks aimed at ending the Brexit deadlock, continuing: “Labour agreed to talks because we believed it was the right thing to do to see if we could get a better deal in line with our plan and the needs of businesses and trade unions, a deal that would see us leave the European Union but keep a close relationship with our major trading partners.

“So far in those talks, there has been no big offer and the red lines remain.

“It’s difficult negotiating with a disintegrating government with Cabinet ministers jockeying for the succession, rather than working for an agreement.”