Scotland needs ‘clarity’ on Brexit
Michael Russell is to ask UK Government for answers on the deal struck with European leaders
Scotland’s Brexit minister has called for “basic answers” on a number of key aspects of a deal struck with European leaders, ahead of talks with UK ministers.
Michael Russell has written to the First Secretary of State in advance of attending the latest meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee on EU Negotiations in London tomorrow.
He said: “We welcome any positive progress in the Brexit talks, but there remains huge uncertainty following last week’s announcement in Brussels.
“The UK Government insists it will remove Scotland from the world’s most lucrative marketplace – the European Single Market of 500 million people.
“But we have no answers on a replacement trade deal, the cost to jobs and living standards or whether last week’s exit deal is legally binding. We need these basic answers now.
“We also need urgent clarity on the implications of last Friday’s deal for the other nations of the UK on the issue of UK-wide frameworks, in key areas like agriculture and state aid. We also need to be fully engaged in the negotiations to follow.
“The agreement reached last week would in effect allow Northern Ireland to enjoy its own arrangements, yet the UK Government ruled out a special deal for Scotland when we raised it a year ago.
“As the First Minister has made clear, any special arrangements for Northern Ireland must also be available to the other UK nations – otherwise we risk being placed at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to jobs and investment."
Russell said he will make it clear "once again" that the Scottish Government cannot recommend the approval of the EU Withdrawal Bill as drafted because it does not respect devolution.
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Speaking in Edinburgh the First Minister will argue that, with immigration essential to maintaining Scotland’s population, “the case for a different approach here is, to my mind, overwhelming”