Defending Scotland from a hard #Brexit

| February 20, 2020

The UK government’s determination to force through a “destructive and damaging hard Brexit” means the Scottish government must step up its efforts to defend Scotland’s interests.

Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution Michael Russell said those driving UK government Brexit policy were not interested in listening to calls for a softer Brexit and people in Scotland should be under no illusion about the damage that would be caused.

The UK government has made clear that it will not commit to aligning with EU standards or accept the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. Addressing the Scottish Parliament’s Culture, Europe and External Relations Committee today, Russell said this would result in new barriers to trade and exports, a fall in national income compared to EU membership and damage to social care and the NHS.

Consequently, the Scottish government will now further prioritize work to mitigate the damage while seeking to give Scotland the right to choose a different path. A new Continuity Bill will be introduced to the Scottish parliament soon which would make it easier to align with future EU standards in areas such as the environment and human rights.

In addition, the Scottish government will seek to protect vulnerable exports such as seafood and red meat, press for continued participation in EU research and student programmes and seek replacements for security initiatives including the EU arrest warrant.

Russell said: “The UK government is determined to pursue a destructive and damaging hard Brexit. As of today, devolved ministers have been given no chance to even look at its negotiating mandate, let alone influence it. We will, of course, continue trying to protect Scotland’s interests. But unless something fundamental changes, the UK intends to inflict the hardest of Brexits on us, rather than negotiating with us. We must stand up for ourselves to stop that happening.”

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Category: A Frontpage, Brexit, EU, Scotland, UK

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