MSPs urged to reject Brexit deal

The Scottish Parliament has been urged to reject the UK Government’s Withdrawal Agreement.

MSPs are set to debate whether to give consent to the agreement struck by Prime Minister Boris Johnson with the EU.

Legislative consent for issues affecting devolved policy areas is required under the devolution agreement but, in practice, the UK Government could still proceed against the will of the Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish administrations.

Brexit
Mike Russell during a meeting with UK and EU nationals in Edinburgh (Jane Barlow/PA)

The Scottish Government’s Constitutional Relations Secretary Mike Russell said: “We have a duty to explicitly reject consent to this Bill in order to respect the clear and consistent majority opposition to Scotland leaving the EU.

“England and Wales voted to leave and Northern Ireland will have its own arrangements, Scotland voted Remain but within the month will be forced to leave, with no say over its future relationship with the European Union.”

Mr Russell added the Withdrawal Agreement also increases the chances of a no-deal Brexit, whereby the UK fails to negotiate a trade deal before leaving the EU.

“There is also no doubt that this Bill puts a calamitous no-deal scenario firmly back on the table,” he said.

“Imposing an arbitrary deadline, the end of 2020, to conclude a free trade agreement with the European Union is unrealistic and does nothing but increase the risk of a no-deal scenario once again.”

A UK Government spokesman said: “The Prime Minister has delivered a great deal that works for the whole of the UK, giving us the certainty we need to leave the EU and move on together. We want 2020 to be a year of opportunity, growth and unity, not further political division.

“It is disappointing the Scottish Government has so far refused to recommend legislative consent and are instead undermining this process to signal their opposition to Brexit.

“We have worked with them throughout the Brexit process and we will continue to do so.”

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