Scottish politicians react to Prime Minister’s Brexit defeat

Scottish politicians have reacted to Boris Johnson’s Brexit defeat, which the First Minister described as a “severe blow to his plan to bludgeon his bad deal through”.

The Prime Minister pulled the vote on the Withdrawal Agreement after MPs voted to withhold approval until legislation to implement it has been passed by MPs and Lords.

Mr Johnson will now have to write to the EU requesting an extension to Article 50 or risk being in contempt of court, with Lord Carloway due to resume a hearing on Monday about whether to force the Prime Minister to send the letter or write it on his behalf.

Reacting to the developments in the House of Commons following the 322 to 306 vote defeat for the Government, Nicola Sturgeon said: “Excellent – Johnson’s losing run continues and, more importantly, his contradictory promises to the ERG and Labour rebels, and his bad deal overall, can be subjected to real scrutiny.”

“PM sounding deflated and defeated – he knows this is a severe blow to his plan to bludgeon his bad deal through,” the First Minister tweeted.

The acting leader of the Scottish Conservatives Jackson Carlaw spoke out in favour of Mr Johnson’s deal and accused the SNP and Labour of “shameful and short-sighted tactics”.

Mr Carlaw said: “People will be furious that opposition MPs have again conspired to frustrate this process.

“They don’t care about respecting the will of the people – they give the clear impression that they are motivated simply by their own particular political ambitions.

“MPs need to knock their heads together and vote for the legislation next week which will ensure the UK leaves the EU in an orderly way and on October 31.”

The Scottish Government’s Constitutional Relations Secretary Michael Russell said: “Scotland voted remain but the Prime Minister’s hard Brexit deal will take us out of the EU, out of the Single Market and out of the Customs Union.

“It would hit jobs and living standards and leave Scotland as the only country of the UK to be removed from the EU against its will with no say over its future relationship with Europe.

“Following today’s proceedings in the House of Commons, the Prime Minister must immediately comply in good faith with current law and seek an extension to the Article 50 period.

“And under current constitutional rules, the UK Government must seek the legislative consent of the Scottish Parliament for any bill that is introduced to implement this bad deal.”

European Parliament election
Shadow Scottish secretary Lesley Laird (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Labour’s Shadow Scottish secretary Lesley Laird said: “Today MPs have given a clear signal to Boris Johnson that they don’t trust him or his Brexit deal. He must now obey the law and seek an extension to Article 50.

“Time and time again, we have been told that the best way to get Brexit done is to vote for a deal. That is a false choice and by voting for Boris Johnson’s deal, we would have opened the door to a decade of negotiations leading to deregulation and a trade deal with Donald Trump.

“This deal was a sell out that would lead to a sell off.

“Labour is clear that we must let the people decide and that any Brexit deal must be put back to the public with the option to remain on the ballot paper.”

David Mundell, the former Scottish secretary sacked by Mr Johnson, predicted frustration at the Government delaying the meaningful vote on agreement.

He tweeted: “Oh dear! Parliament has ducked the issue again.

“I know constituents will be disappointed and frustrated that MPs still seem more interested in playing political games than getting Brexit sorted.”

Oh dear! Parliament has ducked the issue again. I know constituents will be disappointed and frustrated that MPs still seem more interested in playing political games than getting #Brexit sorted.

— David Mundell (@DavidMundellDCT) October 19, 2019

The pro-EU Labour MP Ian Murray said of the vote: “It’s a crucial insurance policy as we continue the fight to prevent a catastrophic Brexit.

“We have removed the opportunity for the Brexit zealots in the Tory Party to trash the Withdrawal Bill and take us out with no deal.

“One thing is absolutely clear – the only way to solve this unprecedented constitutional crisis is to give the public a final say, with the chance to keep the best deal we already have as a member of the EU.”

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