SNP MSP Joan McAlpine has joined with colleagues from across the party divide to oppose Theresa May’s proposed Brexit deal and call for the threat of No-Deal to be taken off the table.
Speaking in the chamber during a Scottish Government debate on EU withdrawal negotiations, MSPs from the SNP, Scottish Labour, Green Party and the Liberal Democrats highlighted the growing support across Scotland for an extension to the Article 50 process to avoid a No-Deal scenario on 29th March.
In a historic move, politicians at the Welsh Assembly joined forces with Holyrood to debate the same motion simultaneously. Scottish Brexit Secretary Mike Russell said the unprecedented event sent a “strong message to the UK government that it must stop pursing such a disastrous course of action”.
Political commentators have suggested there is currently no prospect of the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal being passed by MPs at Westminster at the second attempt scheduled for 12thMarch – just 17 days before the UK is set to crash out of the EU.
Research has shown that Theresa May’s proposed Brexit deal would lead to a 6% fall in GDP by 2031, costing each person in Scotland £1,600.
Speaking in the debate, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:
“No-Deal should be definitively ruled out – and today, from Edinburgh and Cardiff, we demand that it is.
“The deal on the table guarantees more years of uncertainty during which Scotland’s interests will be at the mercy of a vicious, and seemingly never-ending, Tory civil war – one where the extreme Brexiteers are currently in the ascendancy.
“The preferable alternative option, in my view, is now a second EU referendum. After all, nobody voting to leave the EU knew precisely what they were voting for – the leave campaign was deliberately vague, some may say deceitful, about the form Brexit would take.”
Last month, a report from the Chief Economic Advisor to Scotland warned that a No-Deal Brexit would expose up to 24% of Dumfries and Galloway’s workforce to economic shock and possible job losses.
Speaking in the chamber, SNP MSP Joan McAlpine said:
“We are hurtling towards the precipice of having no deal, which only last week the UK Government said would inflict greater damage on both Scotland and Wales than it would on the UK as a whole.
“The Prime Minister says all that can be avoided by backing her deal but her deal fails to guarantee key human rights, environmental rights and employment rights. Of course, it also ignores the devolution settlement and rides roughshod over the powers of the Scottish parliament which rejected the draft deal in early December last year.
“The EU will not agree to an extension to Article 50 if it becomes what is being called a rolling cliff edge, which would allow Mrs May more procrastination time without delivering any material change and more time to blackmail us with no deal threats. That is why there has to be a second referendum. That is why we need to put the brakes on Brexit.”