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Protecting Scotland's interests

Published: 1 Feb 2018 00:01

Call for UK Government to respect devolution.

The UK Government can no longer ignore the weight of evidence showing the damage its Brexit policy is doing to devolution and the Scottish economy, Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe, Michael Russell has said.

Today Mr Russell and the Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, will meet the UK Government’s Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington, in Edinburgh.

Mr Russell said:

“Throughout this entire process, whether considering the EU Withdrawal Bill or the future relationship with Europe, our number one priority has been to protect Scotland’s interests.

“That must mean staying in the Single Market – the world’s richest market-place of 500 million people. Independent experts, the Scottish Government – and even the UK Government’s own analysis – all agree there will be a heavy cost to jobs and living standards from a hard Brexit.

“Given this overwhelming evidence it is essential the UK Government changes course and starts to take the concerns of people in Scotland seriously.

“On the EU Withdrawal Bill, we are becoming increasingly exasperated by the UK Government’s approach. 

“This is not a disagreement between the Scottish and UK Governments. It is now agreed unanimously, with support across parliament, that the bill is incompatible with devolution and will allow Westminster to take control of devolved areas.

“The Scottish and Welsh Governments joint amendments to the bill to protect devolution were rejected by UK ministers, who then failed to honour their commitment for amendments of their own. The UK Government must make changes to address these concerns.

“Because of their failure so far to listen, there is currently no prospect of the Scottish Parliament giving its consent. That is why we need to press ahead with our own preparations to ensure Scotland’s laws are protected in the event the UK leaves the EU.”