Holyrood could be recalled to debate new Brexit deal

The Scottish Parliament could be recalled from recess early to debate giving consent for a new Brexit deal.

The Scottish Government has requested Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh recall the Parliament ahead of its scheduled return day on Tuesday October 29.

As part of the process, the Scottish Parliament must pass a legislative consent motion to allow Westminster to proceed with the Brexit deal.

It is not known when a conclusion will be reached.

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: “The UK Government has indicated that it intends to pass the Withdrawal Agreement Bill – which requires the legislative consent of the Scottish Parliament – prior to October 31.

“Our preference is that the UK secures an extension to the Article 50 process, enabling proper scrutiny of the legislation in Westminster and the Scottish Parliament.

“However, if the UK Government remains determined to seek passage of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill within the next 10 days then we believe it is necessary for the Scottish Parliament to meet this week to decide whether or not to consent to the Bill and to fulfil our democratic functions.”

The Presiding Officer was said to have been speaking to party leaders on Monday in a bid to reach a decision.

A spokesman for the Scottish Parliament said: “(The Presiding Officer) has been in contact with officials throughout today.

“Any decision to recall Parliament will be taken by him. As ever, he will listen to the views of the parties before reaching a decision.

“He’ll take stock of developments at Westminster over the course of the day.

“Any decision to recall Parliament will be communicated to members first.”

Both the SNP and the Scottish Liberal Democrats have voiced support for recalling Parliament.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: “Scottish Liberal Democrats will vote against Brexit again.

“The vote in the Scottish Parliament will be another signal that the Brexit deal is a bad idea.

“It is time for Scottish Conservatives to show some backbone.

“They need to vote against a Brexit deal that puts an internal border in the Irish Sea.

“It breaks the Conservatives’ promise and risks the future of the United Kingdom.

“Brexit is bad for the UK.”

MSPs have only been recalled to the Scottish Parliament three times in its history, most recently in 2009 following the release of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, who was convicted of the Lockerbie Bombing.

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