Scottish Parliament set to reject Theresa May's Brexit deal

Written by Tom Freeman on 5 December 2018 in News

Cross-party motion rejecting the Prime Minister's Brexit terms only to be opposed by the Scottish Conservatives

Scottish Parliament windows - Holyrood

The Scottish parliament is set to reject Theresa May's negotiated Brexit deal laer today as MSPs debate a motion signed by all parties except the Scottish Conservatives.

Although Holyrood has no formal say over the deal, which will face its Commons vote next week, MSPs hope it will send a strong signal that Scotland rejects terms which would see seperate customs arrangements with Northern Ireland.

May faces an uphill struggle to get MPs to back her deal, with several Conservatives voting to defeat the government over the publication of legal advice yesterday.

The Scottish Conservatives at Holyrood will support it by opposing today's motion, which was signed by the SNP, Labour, Scottish Greens and the Liberal Democrats.

The motion also calls for the Prime Minister to rule out a 'no-deal' scenario which would see the UK charged high WTO tariffs on exports and a hard border erected.

Ahead of the debate, Constitutional Relations Secretary Michael Russell said: "This is a historic opportunity for the Scottish Parliament to come together and formally oppose both a 'no deal' option and the Prime Minister's damaging Brexit deal.

"The UK Government's own analysis, as well as the detailed assessment from the Scottish Government, shows why the draft Brexit deal is unacceptable - it would make us poorer while extending uncertainty.

"It would take Scotland out of the EU against our will, removing us from the Customs Union and the European Single Market of 500 million people - eight times larger than the UK market alone - and place Scotland at a serious competitive disadvantage with Northern Ireland.

"Our first priority is staying in the EU, in line with the overwhelming vote in Scotland to remain, and we support another referendum on EU membership. Short of that, the least damaging option is to remain in the Single Market and Customs Union."

Scottish Conservative constitution spokesman Adam Tomkins dismissed the motion as "manufactured grievance" from the SNP and Greens.

“That Labour and the Liberal Democrats have once again fallen into line with the nationalists is disappointing but hardly surprising," he said.

“It’s a choice they’ve taken at every step since the Brexit referendum was held. Willie Rennie and Richard Leonard are Nicola Sturgeon’s little helpers.

“The Scottish Conservatives are the only party committed to respecting the results of both referendums we have held in the last four years."

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