Brexit: Michael Russell on Scotland’s future in UK Internal Market
Scottish Parliament MSPs voted to refuse legislative consent for the Prime Minister’s Brexit agreement with the EU this afternoon. The Scottish Government’s Legislative Consent Memorandum (LCM) lodged with the Scottish Parliament recognises the people of Scotland have never given their backing to Brexit and says the Future Relationship Bill fails to protect Scottish and UK interests.
The consent motion, seen by Express.co.uk, adds: “The Scottish Government continues to believe that the best future for Scotland is to become an independent country and Member State of the EU.”
MSPs voted by 92 to 30 to say the deal would “cause severe damage to Scotland’s environmental, economic and social interests.”
Tensions have run high between Boris Johson and SNP leader and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon over the sealed trade deal, which SNP MP’s voted against in the Commons this afternoon.
Despite the SNP rebellion however, MPs voted by 521 to 73 to give the European Union (Future Relationship) Bill, ratifying the deal finally agreed on Christmas Eve, a third reading.
MSPs debated in Holyrood today
Nicola Sturgeon arguing against Brexit today
Alongside this, a Scottish Labour amendment urging the UK and Scottish Government to protect workers’ rights, the Erasmus student exchange scheme and environmental standards was passed by 94 votes to 30.
A Scottish Conservative amendment calling for consent to be given to the European Union (Future Relationship) Bill was defeated by 94 votes to 30.
The SNP led Scottish Government said the vote underlined that “Scotland did not vote for Brexit, nor leaving the single market and customs union and losing the many benefits that membership of the European Union brings.”
Government modelling estimates a deal of the type that has been agreed could cut Scotland’s GDP by around 6.1 percent (£9 billion in 2016 cash terms) by 2030 compared to EU membership.
The Bill will be debated in Holyrood this afternoon
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon branded Mr Johnson’s Brexit deal “rotten” claiming he had ignored the SNP led administration’s concerns.
She said: “This Bill will pass regardless of how Scotland’s MPs vote because that’s what the Westminster establishment has decided.
“The fact is, Scotland’s voice has been ignored on Brexit all along, every single step of the way.
“We deserve better than a dismal choice between a terrible deal and no deal.”
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Ruth Davidson slated Nicola Sturgeon and accused the SNP of
Ms Sturgeon made clear Scotland deserved the right to become an “independent European country.
She added: “It is only through independence that we will ever get to choose the future we want.
However, the Scottish Conservatives accused the SNP of “contortions” and “hypocrisy” over its opposition to the Brexit deal.
Ruth Davidson, leader of the Conservatives at Holyrood, said: “Never once were they thinking about practical delivery, but always focused solely on their own, narrow political game-playing.
Nicola Sturgeon and Boris Johnson have been at loggerheads over a deal
“For the SNP this was never really about the substance of leaving the European Union because they don’t want to go there.
“This is after all the party that espouses separation from one union as a betrayal but from another, deeper, more valuable one as a necessity.”
Ms Davidson said the vote was not about EU membership as the UK had already left the bloc on January 31.
She said: “The only options on the table are the deal or no-deal, and if you vote against the first one then you’re inescapable voting for the second one.”
Nicola Sturgeon criticised over referendum hopes by Rennie
Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard whose party refused to side with Sir Keir Starmer and back Mr Johnson’s deal said the agreement is a “bad deal for Scotland”.
He added: “A vote against the proposition in Westminster today is to risk the chaos and damage of a no-deal outcome.
“And you can’t say by voting against it, as SNP MPs will do today, that wasn’t what we meant.
“That’s what will happen, which is why Labour MPs will reluctantly vote for the deal because the alternative would be chaos.”
Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie
Patrick Harvie, Scottish Greens co-leader also outlined his party’s opposition to the deal criticised the “perverse and vindictive” decision to leave the Erasmus student exchange programme and said the impact on young people from exiting the EU is the “greatest tragedy”.
Willie Rennie, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader said: “When our children look back at this time, they will be astonished that the UK Government voluntarily pursued this big bang change in the middle of a global pandemic with the biggest economic and health crisis this country has ever faced.”
Meanwhile, SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said the best deal is the one which currently exists with the UK in the single market and customs union, as he labelled the new arrangement “an act of economic vandalism”.
But Michael Gove accused the SNP of putting “their narrow nationalism ahead of our national interest”.
Mr Gove told the Commons Mr Blackford should hand himself in to the police and added: “Indeed so opposed to no-deal were the SNP that (Joanna Cherry) went to court to ensure that if the Prime Minister took us out of the European Union without a deal he would go to jail.
“Now the leader of the SNP is voting to take us out of the EU without a deal. He is doing something that his own party said should be an imprisonable offence.”