News

Response to Article 50 Extension

Published: 14 Apr 2019 00:01

Brexit talks must include Scotland.

 

The UK Government must use the extension granted this week by the EU to broaden its discussions on Brexit, Constitutional Relations Secretary Michael Russell said.

Mr Russell called for all devolved administrations to be involved in talks amid fresh concerns from Scottish businesses about the damage Brexit will do to their trade.

Mr Russell said:

“The UK Government has been given until 31 October, and must now use this extra time wisely, allowing for all parties and all devolved governments to be invited to the negotiating table. The Prime Minister must use this opportunity to drop her red lines, which have led to the Brexit impasse.

“Taking us out of a market around eight times bigger than the UK will cost jobs, make people poorer, and undermine the democratic decision of the people of Scotland to remain in the European Union. The Scottish Government set out compromise plans that would keep both Scotland and the UK in the Single Market but these were dismissed out of hand by the UK Government.”

Macleans Highland Bakery, which produces traditional shortbreads, biscuits and oatcakes at its bakery in Forres, will come under pressure from increased export costs after Brexit. And the company’s planned expansion into the Japanese market will be more difficult without the Free Trade Agreement between the EU and Japan.

Managing Director Lewis Maclean said:

“My fourth biggest customer is based in Copenhagen and worth £100,000 a year to my business. They have already made it clear they will not meet any additional costs of trading with us after we leave the EU.

“If our goods cost more to export, or take longer getting through customs, it’s likely we’ll lose business. I am getting a really terrible feeling in my stomach, the closer we get to leaving the EU. This week’s extension feels like a reprieve, but for how long?”

Background

The First Minister wrote to the PM this week, calling for any deal agreed by the UK parliament to be put to a second referendum, with the option to remain on the ballot paper.