Cabinet Secretary For Government Business And Constitutional Relations
The people of Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the European Union.
The Prime Minister claims the agreement she has struck to leave the EU, despite that overwhelming vote for remain, will provide clarity and stability.
It is entirely understandable that many in business, in agriculture, in fishing and in all other sectors in Scotland - and individuals - wish an end to the current destabilising uncertainty brought about by the actions of the UK Government. Unfortunately this deal won’t do that. The Prime Minister’s deal, constrained by her own self-imposed red lines, will in fact extend the period of uncertainty, will inflict long term damage on the Scottish economy and public services, and will cause further political turmoil.
In addition, her presentation of this deal as the only option, without which there would be the chaos of a “no deal,” is also untrue. There are options available that would avoid any possibility of a “no deal” but secure a much more beneficial outcome for Scotland.
The Prime Minister’s proposed deal will see Scotland taken out of the EU despite the overwhelming vote to remain. The people of Scotland will lose the rights we have as EU citizens, including the freedom to travel, live and work anywhere across the EU. It will see our friends and neighbours obliged to apply for permission to remain in the country they have chosen to make their home simply because they exercised their right to live and work here. It is a deal which will see us poorer, not just economically but socially.
The Scottish Government is focused on working across political parties and across sectors and communities in order to move this issue forward and towards a long term solution. Continued membership of the EU, or at the very least continued membership of the Single Market and the Customs Union remain viable alternatives, which the EU has made clear it would accept. Another referendum, with the option of “remain” on the ballot paper, or a general election are also potential next steps. All those things are being actively discussed.
This paper sets out why the Prime Minister’s proposed deal is unacceptable and must be defeated. The Scottish Government will continue to work with others towards that end and to the implementation of a better solution for our country, economy and our public services.
Email: Ellen Leaver