Holyrood set to vote against Brexit deal

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The Scottish Parliament is expected to refuse consent to the Brexit trade deal in a vote on Wednesday.

The SNP, Scottish Labour, Scottish Liberal Democrats and Scottish Greens have already outlined their decision not to back the agreement, meaning it is unable to gain a majority unless MSPs break the party line.

A debate is due to be held in Holyrood on Wednesday afternoon before the vote.

The legislative consent motion lodged at the Scottish Parliament states that the government should not consent to the “inadequate and damaging” Brexit deal with the EU.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “The Scottish Parliament, like the people of Scotland, has consistently voiced support for Scotland’s membership of the EU and – since the 2016 referendum – for single market and customs union membership.

“The question before the Scottish Parliament is not about this deal or no deal, but whether this deal is good or bad for Scotland.

“The Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament consistently suggested alternatives. While recognising the UK would leave the EU, we proposed staying in the single market and customs union.

“The UK Government dismissed these ideas. It disregarded Scotland’s views, values and interests. It has agreed a deal which is disastrous for Scotland.

General Election 2019
General Election 2019

“The UK Government’s deal will impose costs on businesses, reduce the opportunities of its citizens, and sacrifice its own international influence – in order to gain powers it will struggle to use.

“Even for the fishing industry – perhaps the only sector that genuinely believed that Brexit would deliver benefits – this deal represents a massive sell out and broken promise.

“The result is a deal which is harmful for the UK as a whole – but perhaps especially harmful for Scotland. It should not receive the Scottish Parliament’s consent.”

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said: “Boris Johnson promised more than a year ago that he would ‘get Brexit done’, and that his deal was ‘oven ready’ – yet his shambolic government is racing to ratify its half-baked Brexit deal the day before the end of the transition period.

“There is no co-production here; no engagement with industry, trade unions or devolved governments on the terms of this trade deal, and barely any parliamentary scrutiny let alone public participation.

“It is our duty to stand up for Scotland in Parliament tomorrow. But it is also our duty to protect Scottish businesses and jobs from the damage that this deal will do, and that means the SNP government must distribute the £300 million of Barnett consequentials to businesses as soon as possible.

“We cannot lose sight of the fact that our economy is still in the depths of another crisis that the SNP left Scotland unprepared for. It’s time for a national plan for the Scottish economy.”

A better deal for fishing is the only Brexit justification the Tories have ever been able to offer Scotland. This analysis shows just how spectacularly they’ve broken that promise. For some key stocks the deal actually delivers a worse outcome than the CFP https://t.co/oiB71zomYp

— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) December 29, 2020

Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie said: “The Scottish Greens refuse to accept this false choice between a calamitous no-deal and the Prime Minister’s version, which still drags Scotland out of Europe, losing vital rights and protections as well as the ability for our students to study abroad as part of the Erasmus plus scheme.

“This Brexit has no mandate, it was won on half-truths and worse, and is being delivered by incompetent hubris.

“We will reject this deal because we still believe there is a better option for Scotland, the UK and for Europe, where we can shape our own future.

“By enabling this right-wing Brexit on terms dictated by Boris Johnson, Westminster is ignoring the will of Scotland, which voted overwhelmingly to stay in the European Union.”

Scottish Liberal Democrats Willie Rennie added: “With our long track record of advocating membership of the European Union people won’t be surprised that the Liberal Democrats can’t support the Conservative Government’s strategy on Brexit and the last-minute trade deal they reached.

“The Liberal Democrats will vote to refuse consent to the Future Relationship Agreement Bill as we think the trade deal is bad for jobs, business, our environment and our way of life.

“It’s probably the first trade deal in the world that erects more trade barriers.”

Scottish Government analysis has shown key fishing stocks are set to fall as a result of the Brexit fisheries deal.

It suggests eight fish stocks will not present an increase in fishing opportunities, with ministers also saying shares in five-and-a-half years’ time will still be less than their current equivalent.

Boris Johnson visit to Scotland
Boris Johnson visit to Scotland

In Westminster, Boris Johnson’s trade deal with the European Union has won the backing of the Brexiteer backbenchers, who have said the agreement “preserves the UK’s sovereignty”.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said: “The deal the UK Government has secured with the EU is great news for Scotland.

“It is the first zero tariffs, zero quotas deal the EU has ever agreed and is good news for Scottish fisheries, taking us out of the Common Fisheries Policy and restoring our status as an independent coastal state.

“This is a historic moment for all Scottish MPs, and their constituents will expect them to do the right thing.

“I urge them to give the deal their whole-hearted support which is so very clearly in Scotland’s interests.

“Those who do not will have to explain to people in Scotland why they voted for no-deal. They will, rightly, face incomprehension and anger.”

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