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07/02/17 17:35

Article 50 Bill

Scottish Parliament opposes beginning of process to withdraw from EU.

The Scottish Parliament has today agreed that the UK Government’s European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill should not proceed.

Welcoming the vote, Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe Michael Russell said the Parliament’s view should now be listened to.

Speaking following the debate, Mr Russell said:

“Scotland’s national Parliament has today sent a clear message to the rest of the UK and Europe – we oppose a catastrophic hard Brexit that dumps Scotland outside of the single market against its wishes.

“The Prime Minister promised Scotland would be ‘fully engaged’ in agreeing a common UK approach to triggering Article 50. We have taken those promises at face value and developed constructive, detailed compromise proposals showing how we can keep our place in the single market, which is around eight times bigger than the UK’s alone,

“Yet so far the UK Government has offered nothing – not a single compromise in return, or even a view on our proposals.

“We do not yet know when Article 50 will be triggered, and have not been given any information about how the UK Government will seek our involvement. The promise of a ‘UK Agreement’ on its content looks to be an empty one.  

“Today’s vote is therefore a key test of whether Scotland’s voice is being listened to and whether our wishes can be accommodated within the UK process.

“There is still time for the UK Government to recognise the existence and importance of devolution, the views of this Parliament and the clear, democratically expressed voice of the people of this country – but that time is running out.”

Background

The motion as agreed to is:

“That the Parliament agrees with all but one of Scotland’s MPs that the UK Government’s European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill should not proceed, as the UK Government has set out no provision for effective consultation with the devolved administrations on reaching an agreed UK approach to the negotiations on implementing Article 50, has refused to give a guarantee on the position of EU nationals in the UK, has left unanswered a range of detailed questions covering many policy areas regarding the full implications of withdrawal from the single market, and has provided no assurance that a future parliamentary vote on the outcome of the negotiations will be anything other than irrelevant, as withdrawal from the EU follows two years after the invoking of Article 50 if agreement is not reached in the forthcoming negotiations, unless they are prolonged by unanimity; notes the widespread scepticism that an agreement on the future relationship of the UK and EU can be reached within two years; is concerned by the lack of any proposed transitional arrangements until such an agreement is in place, and believes that the decision to proceed with the bill does not respect the majority vote to remain part of the EU that was returned in every council area in Scotland.”

The full text of Mr Russell’s statement to Parliament is at: http://news.gov.scot/speeches-and-briefings/debate-on-article-50