Representatives from across Scottish society are to be invited by the Scottish Government to identify responses to the UK election result, and to the prospect of Scotland being removed from the European Union against its will.
The discussions with groups from across civic society will include trades unions, the business community, local government, and religious and minority groups.
The meetings will echo those held after the Brexit referendum in 2016, and will identify how, within the Scottish Parliament’s current powers, Scotland responds to the impact of UK Government actions including the imminent prospect of a damaging Brexit.
In a statement to the Scottish Parliament today, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said all parts of Scottish life need to discuss the urgent challenges facing the nation.
Local SNP MSP Tom Arthur has slammed Jackson Carlaw’s “ignorant” questioning following the statement. Despite the overwhelming SNP victory in Scotland, Mr Carlaw said that “this election has confirmed beyond doubt or debate is that the whole of the United Kingdom together will be leaving the European Union at the end of next month” and that Brexit is now a “political reality for us all”.
In her response, the First Minister said:
“For Jackson Carlaw to stand up in this chamber and gloat about the fact that every part of the UK will be leaving the UK together is a disgrace.
“It is a democratic disgrace that Scotland faces being dragged out of the EU against our will. That is why we should have a choice over a better future, and if the Scottish Conservatives had any respect whatsoever for democracy, that’s exactly what we would have.”
Commenting, Tom Arthur MSP said:
“The stance Mr Carlaw has taken is one of utter ignorance. Last week, people across East Renfrewshire voted overwhelmingly to elect Kirsten Oswald as their MP and, in doing so, to reject Brexit and a UK Government led by Boris Johnson’s Tories. This decision cannot be overlooked or ignored.
“This afternoon, Mr Carlaw spoke of breaking “the cycle of uncertainty that has hung over Scotland for so long” by delivering Brexit when, in reality, this uncertainty has been imposed on us by a UK Government determined to undermine Scotland’s voice and right to choose.”
East Renfrewshire’s MP Kirsten Oswald added:
“It is deeply disappointing to see the gung-ho approach of Jackson Carlaw’s Scottish Tories, apparently content to see Boris Johnson drag us out of the EU regardless of the views of the Scottish electorate, or the consequences for our communities. Mr Carlaw’s recent enthusiasm for Brexit is baffling, and it is difficult to fathom what can have changed his mind so radically. He cannot simply ignore the outcome of the General Election because it does not suit him.”