Local SNP MSP Tom Arthur 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 12th March – 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 19% of East Renfrewshire’s workforce and up to 24% of Renfrewshire’s workforce to economic shock and possible job losses.
Speaking in the chamber, SNP MSP Tom Arthur said:
“I wish this was not a debate we had to have and it is deeply regrettable that we are in this situation.
“No more was that underscored for me than yesterday when visiting pupils at St Benedict’s High School in Linwood, because it is a generation of young people who are going to be deprived of opportunities and chances which my generation and generations preceding mine have been able to take for granted. […]
“Brexit will not in itself address inequality, it will not address lack of opportunity and, fundamentally, what has been produced in the Withdrawal Agreement is unworkable. It is riddled with irreconcilable paradoxes.
“It is the result of a Prime Minister who has shown utter incompetence in these negotiations, not only in setting red lines, but in triggering Article 50 prematurely.”
Tom’s contribution to the debate is available in full here.