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Scottish and Welsh parliaments pass identical Brexit motions calling for postponement of leave date

Scottish parliament - Anita Gould

Scottish and Welsh parliaments pass identical Brexit motions calling for postponement of leave date

The Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly have passed identical motions calling for Theresa May to shift her position on Brexit.

The Prime Minister has insisted the UK will leave the European Union on the 29 March, either without a deal or under the terms of the deal she struck with European leaders, which has been rejected on numerous occasions by MPs.

She has now announced funding for the English regions and Northern Ireland in an attempt to secure support for the deal.

MSPs and their Welsh counterparts voted to reiterate their opposition to both the PM’s deal and leaving without a deal, calling for the planned exit date to be postponed.

It is the first time the Scottish and Welsh parliaments have acted together on a single motion since devolution.

MSPs passed the motion by 87 to 29, while AMs in Wales did so by 37 to 13.

During the debate, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the joint motion provided “a basis for a more sensible and less damaging approach to Brexit”.

She said: “For more than two years now, since the result of the EU referendum, the Scottish Government has proposed ways to mitigate the damage that Brexit will cause. We have been joined in our efforts by the Welsh Government. Shamefully, we have been ignored by the UK Government at almost every turn.”

Acting Conservative leader Jackson Carlaw said: “Delaying a decision on Brexit is not a solution; it is simply a way to prolong the indecision and, by doing so, to keep open for longer the divisions that the country faces and to allow even deeper ones to be exploited all over again by the SNP.”

But other parties backed the Scottish Government. Labour leader Richard Leonard said: “It is now inevitable, given the Prime Minister’s intransigence and incompetence, that the UK Government will have to seek an extension to the article 50 process in order to extend talks with the European Union.”

Scottish Greens co-convener Patrick Harvie said: “As the days tick down to the self-imposed deadline, still no one in this country knows what our fundamental relationship will be with our nearest neighbours in just a few weeks, ‘Brexit means Brexit’ is still all they have.”

Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie said: “The UK Parliament, as a whole, cannot agree on a way forward. If that is the case, the only option is to hand the decision back to the people.”

In a joint statement following the vote, Sturgeon and Welsh FM Mark Drakeford said: “Today, for the first time in the 20-year history of devolution, the National Assembly for Wales and the Scottish Parliament, voted simultaneously to oppose a damaging no deal Brexit.

“The vast majority of Members across both Chambers voted in agreement that a no deal outcome would be completely unacceptable and that an extension to Article 50 is the best way forward to protect Wales, Scotland and the UK as a whole.

“No deal would mean not just probable short-term chaos, but also very real and long-term structural damage to our economy. Damage which would mean fewer jobs, lower wages and less tax revenue.

“The motions in both the Scottish Parliament and National Assembly for Wales also re-iterated opposition to the deal negotiated by the Prime Minister which would do significant damage to both countries.

“This united and historic step was taken to send the clearest possible message to the UK Government and Westminster that this reckless course of action must stop now.

A UK government spokeswoman said: "An orderly Brexit is in the UK's best interests and the best way to achieve that is for MPs of all parties to support the prime minister's deal.

“The deal is a good one for Scotland, Wales and the whole of the UK - it delivers the result of the referendum, gives us a close future partnership with the EU, and guarantees citizens' rights.

“Refusing to support the prime minister's deal simply makes a damaging no deal more likely.”

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