First Minister updates parliament on EU

Parliament to hold series of Brexit debates.

A series of parliamentary debates on the implications of Brexit were announced today by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

The First Minister announced that parliament would look at the impact on specific sectors such as education, the economy, rural affairs and the environment.

During a statement to parliament, the First Minister updated MSPs on the work the Scottish Government and Cabinet members have undertaken since the EU referendum.

The First Minister also said the Scottish Government would continue to press the UK Government for urgent clarification on how the UK will deliver on the Prime Minister’s commitment to full involvement for Scotland in the process around Article 50 and negotiations with the EU.

Addressing parliament, the First Minister said:

“Before the summer recess, parliament gave the Scottish Government a mandate to explore all options to protect Scotland’s relationship with the EU. Since the referendum, our first priority has been reassurance. In particular, we have sought to do everything we can to reassure non-UK EU citizens who live in Scotland and we have also taken targeted steps to support and promote economic stability.

“Last month, I set out a £100 million economic stimulus plan. Yesterday I announced that a £500m Scottish Growth Scheme will form a central part of our Programme for Government. In taking these steps, we are acting on our obligation to mitigate the immediate effects of the referendum result and we will continue to do so.

“But we also have to be realistic about the long term consequences of leaving the EU. There is no doubt that leaving the EU will be an extraordinary self-inflicted blow to the UK’s competitiveness and it will be compounded if the decision is to leave the single market as well. That is why it is so essential that we work to retain the benefits of our EU membership.

“We have been working hard over the summer in discussions with UK government officials and we continue to press for urgent clarification of how the UK will deliver on the PM’s commitment to full involvement for Scotland. The Parliament’s approval of the appointment of Michael Russell yesterday ensures that we will have a dedicated Minister leading for Scotland in this process.

“We also intend to propose a series of parliamentary debates over the next few weeks on the implications of Brexit in key areas such as the economy, rural affairs, education and the environment. These debates will give all members the opportunity to have their say on the issues the Scottish Government should be prioritising as our discussions with the UK government develop.

“As we continue to consider the best way forward, my assurance is this: our guiding principle will continue to be - at all times - the best interests of the people of Scotland.”


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