Time for 'struggling' UK Government to take consensual approach on Brexit - SNP

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The SNP has called on the UK Government to open up Brexit talks to other parties and administrations as the country marks 500 days since the EU referendum.

Warnings from the party have been made over a "disaster" scenario if the country was to cut all ties with Europe and claims it is "clear" that help is needed in negotiations.

There are just over 500 days until the UK is set to leave the EU in March 2019.

North East Fife MP Stephen Gethins, SNP spokesman on international affairs and Europe, said: "At the halfway mark, with the clock ticking, the UK Government must press the reset button, and adopt a new approach to make up for lost time, and to avoid the catastrophe of an extreme Tory Brexit or 'no deal' scenario.

"Either of these outcomes would be a disaster - resulting in huge damage to the UK economy, hitting jobs, incomes and businesses across the country, and making us all poorer and worse off.

"It is clear that the UK Government is struggling and desperately needs help. These negotiations are too important to be left in the hands of a weak and divided Tory party.

"The time has now come for a more consensual approach. The Tory government must now reach out to all the devolved administrations and parties in Parliament to work together on our future relationship with Europe."

Representatives from devolved administrations met UK Government ministers in October at the fifth Joint Ministerial Committee to go over EU negotiations.

Scottish and Welsh ministers, along with Northern Ireland's top civil servant, meet First Secretary of State Damian Green and Brexit Secretary David Davis during a Joint Ministerial Council on Brexit in the Cabinet Office, London, in October
Scottish and Welsh ministers, along with Northern Ireland's top civil servant, meet Damian Green and David Davis during a Joint Ministerial Council on Brexit in the Cabinet Office in October (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

A number of common principles to pursue were agreed, including frameworks which will safeguard security and deliver more powers to the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and Stormont post-Brexit.

A UK Government spokesman said: "We are committed to securing a good deal that works for the entire UK including Scotland, and are continuing to engage with the devolved administrations.

"At the Joint Ministerial Council (European Negotiations) on October 16, chaired by the First Secretary of State, ministers noted the positive progress being made on consideration of common frameworks and agreed the principles that will underpin that work.

"We are confident of securing a bold and ambitious deal which is in the interests of both the UK as a whole and our European partners."