No-deal Brexit ‘likely’ to cause cancellation of Holyrood recess, MSPs told

Holyrood is “likely” to meet next week if the UK is forced out of the European Union with no deal in place, MSPs have been told.

While the Scottish Parliament is scheduled to be in recess, Constitutional Relations Secretary Mike Russell said a no-deal Brexit would be a “moment of crisis”, and MSPs would need to be made aware of the arrangements that would be put in place.

Holyrood’s parliamentary bureau, which determines day-to-day business in the Scottish Parliament, is still to decide if there should be sittings scheduled for next week.

Mr Russell said if there were to be a no-deal Brexit it is “likely” MSPs will meet on Thursday April 11.

“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,” he said.

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 MPS 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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