MSPs will be recalled in case of no-deal Brexit, Presiding Officer confirms

The Scottish Parliament will meet during recess if the UK is due to leave the EU without a deal next Friday, Holyrood’s Presiding Officer has said.

Ken Macintosh confirmed the Parliament would be recalled from 1pm next Thursday in that situation.

He described the matter as a “developing situation” and said MSPs may not get the suggested two days’ notice.

Ken Macintosh
Scottish Parliament Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh (right) confirmed the plans (PA)

Mr Macintosh told MSPs: “I can confirm that my intention is to recall Parliament next week to meet at 1pm on Thursday April 11 in the circumstances that the UK is due to leave the EU without a deal on the following day.

“I may not be in a position to confirm a recall to members until after decisions are taken at the EU summit on Wednesday the 10th of April.”

He said MSPs would be informed of any decision to recall through the Parliament’s alert system.

Holyrood’s parliamentary bureau, which determines day-to-day business in the Scottish Parliament, has been considering over the past few days whether to recall members during the two week recess, due to start on Friday.

Earlier, Scotland’s Constitutional Relations Secretary Mike Russell said: “I would be surprised if members would want to be elsewhere when that particular moment of crisis – because it would be a moment of crisis – if next Thursday and Friday we find ourselves essentially with no deal.”

Constitutional Relations Secretary Mike Russell (Jane Barlow/PA)

He added: “We may only know if that is happening on the evening of the Wednesday at the European Council, therefore I think it is likely that we will meet on the Thursday, at the present moment, barring something happening in the next few days.”

Mr Russell spoke out after a spokesman for First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it would be “prudent for Parliament to be ready to sit next week”.

He told MSPs: “I think there would be three purposes for the recall, the first of which would be to ensure that members are updated on arrangements for no deal, these are very serious arrangements, we would want every MSP to be aware of what they are and to be able to scrutinise those arrangements.

“The second one would be to update the Parliament on any political issues or issues of sensitivity that have arisen during the last week, if we meet next Thursday and Friday, in the light negotiations and the implications of any ruling of the European Council.

“The third one is to do with what members would want.

“I would be surprised if most members did not want to be at the forefront of ensuring that the devolved competencies and interests are looked after and defended and scrutinising that at a time of no deal.”

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