Letter to the Prime Minister
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has written to the Prime Minister following the rejection of the draft Brexit deal in the House of Commons last night.
Full text of letter:
16 January 2019
Following the rejection yesterday by the House of Commons of the UK Government’s deal on the Withdrawal Agreement and future relationship with the EU, I am writing to urge urgent engagement with the devolved administrations as the next steps are determined.
Yesterday’s vote in the House of Commons sends the same message that the Scottish Parliament did on the 5 December 2018. The draft deal would make people poorer, damage our society and undermine the democratic decision of the people of Scotland to remain in the European Union.
Since the referendum result in 2016, you have consistently insisted that you would respect the result of the referendum. However rather than recognise the clear vote to remain in Scotland and the 48% across the UK who voted to remain, you have reached out only to those who supported exit and most often to those who advocated a hard Brexit, outside the Single Market and Customs Union.
As a result your Government has now clearly failed to bring the country together in support of your proposed deal. It is time to recognise that reality and change course, starting with a new approach which seeks to find a way forward by genuinely involving the four nations of the UK. Up until now, despite stated intentions, the UK Government has taken little or no account of the views of the people of Scotland or the position of the Scottish Government.
As a first step I am writing to call for a meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee (Plenary). I understand the First Minister of Wales is making a similar call. It is important, contrary to our experience of the past two and a half years, that such a meeting must be more than window dressing. Urgent and meaningful discussions are needed in the next days to agree a way forward which can command a majority in the House of Commons, and which has the confidence and support of the devolved administrations.
The Scottish Government believes that the best way of resolving the current impasse is to negotiate an extension to the Article 50 period and hold a second EU referendum. Given the rejection of your deal we will now be intensifying work towards the achievement of that aim.