Mundell admits PM’s deal not perfect, but will still give backing

The Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell has admitted that Theresa May’s Brexit deal is “not perfect”, but has announced that he will support it in a vote at Westminster on Tuesday.

MPs will vote on the Prime Minister’s Withdrawal Agreement in the Commons this week after an initial vote scheduled in December was delayed.

There are doubts over whether the deal will receive enough votes to pass, with several Conservative MPs refusing to back it.

Mr Mundell said: “The Prime Minister’s deal is a product of tough negotiation.

“It will mean an orderly Brexit which takes us out of the Common Fisheries Policy, guarantees EU citizens’ rights, ensures the vital transition period that businesses need and lays the foundations for negotiating our long-term future trading relationship with the EU.

“It brings certainty, and that’s what the people I speak to want. It is what business leaders across Scotland have been calling for.

“It also avoids the kind of chaos and confusion nationalists crave because they believe it would strengthen their demand for a second independence referendum.

“I do not claim it is perfect – but it does achieve key objectives.”

Mr Mundell indicated that if the Prime Minister’s proposals do not pass in the House of Commons, the UK could depart the EU without any deal in place.

He said: “If we do not back this deal, in just 74 days’ time the UK risks crashing out of the EU without a deal. Or we could be drifting towards a situation where we fail to respect the referendum result to deliver Brexit. Those are the real alternatives to leaving with the Prime Minister’s deal.

“Tomorrow’s vote is not about a lengthy wishlist of fanciful Brexit options. The real alternatives – no deal or no Brexit – are clear.

“I hope colleagues will reflect on that and support the Prime Minister’s deal.”

Scottish Liberal Democrats leader Willie Rennie said the Secretary of State should be “ashamed” of his position on Brexit.

Mr Rennie said: “David Mundell’s proposal will damage the UK economy, according to the Treasury’s own analysis.

“The final decision is too important to be left to an utterly divided Conservative Party. That’s why it needs to be put to a people’s vote across the UK.

“David Mundell’s position is the exact opposite of what his constituents voted for and he should be ashamed how feeble he is.”