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Brexit talks update

Published: 22 Feb 2018 13:22

Russell: ‘clock ticking on Scotland's future’.

There is an urgent need for clarity to protect jobs and living standards with just months to go before a Brexit deal has to be signed, Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland's Place in Europe Michael Russell has said.

Following the latest meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee on European Union Negotiations, Mr Russell said the Scottish Government had put forward proposals that would both limit the economic damage of Brexit and protect devolution.

Mr Russell also said there was a lack of certainty from the UK Government on the transition period, the future EU / UK relationship and how Brexit would affect devolution.

Mr Russell said:

"The clock is ticking on Scotland's future as we draw ever closer to the UK leaving the EU while there is continuing uncertainty on fundamental and crucial issues.

"I made it absolutely clear that, short of continuing EU membership, the best option to protect jobs and investment in Scotland is to remain within the Single Market and Customs Union - as shown by our economic analysis.

"With negotiations between the UK Government and the EU on-going, it is crucial we have meaningful input into those discussions. Twenty months on that has not been delivered.

"On transition, we need more information on how the proposals will affect ‎issues such as trade, fisheries and citizens’ rights - areas which are massively significant.

"Finally, with regard to the EU Withdrawal Bill, the absolutely fundamental point is that the devolution settlement and the powers of the Scottish Parliament cannot be changed unilaterally by the UK Government. What happens to devolved powers must be a matter for Holyrood and the UK Government must recognise that.

"Progress is being made and we will continue to talk. I will continue to fight for the best deal for Scotland."