MIL-OSI UK: MPs asked to dismiss UK Government’s Brexit options

Source: Scottish Government

Constitutional Relations Secretary Michael Russell is writing to all MPs setting out steps the Scottish Government believes must be taken to protect both Scotland and the UK from the UK Government’s Brexit deal and a no deal outcome.

Mr Russell said the views of the people of Scotland, the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government should not be ignored and has detailed four key decisions MPs will face in the week ahead.

Mr Russell said:

“This will be a crucial week for the future of Scotland but I urge MPs not to think just of the days to come but of the generations to come.

“The UK Government’s Brexit deal will take Scotland out of the EU against our will. It will make us poorer, diminish our rights and damage opportunities for future generations.

“The Scottish Government is today setting out our view of the steps that have to be taken this week, to protect Scotland and the UK from the disaster of both the UK Government’s bad Brexit deal and a no deal outcome. 

“Four decisions need to be made: MPs should vote against no deal; they should vote against the Prime Minister’s deal; the EU should be asked to extend Article 50 deadline to stop the UK crashing out in March; and, MPs should come together to support a new referendum on EU membership.

“Throughout this process, the Scottish Government has offered to work with others to soften the blow of Brexit but our offers of compromise have been dismissed by the UK Government.

“I am now writing to all members of the House of Commons setting out the Scottish Government’s view of the way forward and our analysis of the damage the UK Government’s deal will do to Scotland.

“If the UK is a genuine partnership of nations it is essential that the views of the people of Scotland, the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government are taken seriously, and not ignored, when the vote on the UK Government’s deal takes place on Tuesday.”

Text of letter:

11 January 2019

Member of Parliament

I am writing to you to set out the Scottish Government’s position on the Prime Minister’s proposed Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration on the future relationship with the EU.

It is our view that the deal which has been presented will take Scotland out of the EU against our will, Scotland voted by 62% to remain in the European Union in 2016, something which has been consistently ignored by the UK Government.

As set out in Scotland’s Place in Europe: An assessment of the UK Government’s proposed future relationship with the EU, the deal which MPs are being asked to endorse on Tuesday 15 January 2019 will make us poorer, diminish our rights and damage opportunities for future generations.

On 5 December 2018 the Scottish Parliament voted (92-29) to reject the Prime Minister’s proposed deal and to call for a better alternative to both the ‘deal’ and no-deal. SNP, Labour, Green and Liberal Democrat MSPs all supported the motion.

In our view four steps need to be taken.

Firstly, MPs should vote against no deal. No deal would be catastrophic and would have severe and disproportionate impacts on Scotland – on food supply, on medicines, on transport, and rural matters. In view of the damage which uncertainty on this issue has already caused – and will continue to cause – to the interests of citizens and businesses, immediate steps should be taken to exclude this possibility. 

Secondly, MPs should vote against the Prime Minister’s deal. As set out above it is a deal which will leave this country poorer and diminished internationally as well as domestically. It is not what people voted for in 2016.

Thirdly, the EU should be asked to extend the Article 50 process to stop the UK crashing out in March and allow a sensible debate about the choices now available to take place and an informed choice to be made.

Finally, MPs should come together to support a new referendum on EU membership. The debate in 2016 has been consistently shown to have been manipulated and undermined by misinformation and false promises. The truth has now been laid bare and in the absence of a consensus in Parliament the choice must be put back to the people. 

Throughout this process the Scottish Government has offered to work with others to soften the blow of Brexit but our offers of compromise have been dismissed by the UK Government.

Despite the Prime Minister’s statements of having worked closely with others, and her pleas for the Parliament to come together and back her, she has consistently cut others out of her plans. There has been no attempt to reach a consensus and bridge gaps over the past two and a half years.

If the UK is a genuine partnership of nations it is essential that the views of the people of Scotland, the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government are taken seriously, and not ignored, when the vote on the Prime Minister’s deal takes place.

Michael Russell
Cabinet Secretary for Government Business and Constitutional Relations

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