Brexit: MSPs urged to back staying in single market

Ceria Alfonso
Diciembre 8, 2017

The UK Government has repeatedly ruled out allowing a bespoke Brexit deal for Scotland, which voted in favour of remaining in the European Union, but European Council president Donald Tusk has also made it clear that Brexit talks can not move forward unless Dublin is satisfied that there will be no return to a hard border in Ireland.

Mrs May is meeting European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council president Donald Tusk, in the hope of coming to an agreement on the first phase of Brexit talks ahead of a summit in ten days' time.

Labour's Lewis Macdonald said, however, that "it would be a mistake to use the chaos of Theresa May's failed deal on Northern Ireland yesterday simply to push for a differential deal here too".

Russell told MSPs: "If this Chamber were to speak with one voice on membership of the single market and the customs union, I think it would be very effective indeed".

There have been reports that Northern Ireland could retain "regulatory alignment" with the European Union - although the final wording of any potential deal has not yet been confirmed.

However Downing Street sources have sounded a note of caution, suggesting there are "still moving parts" over the deal.

Ms Sturgeon posted on Twitter: "If one part of United Kingdom can retain regulatory alignment with European Union and effectively stay in the single market (which is the right solution for Northern Ireland) there is surely no good practical reason why others can't".

Although the prospect of Single Market Membership is vehemently opposed by the DUP - on which the Conservative government's majority in parliament rests - the prospect of continued Single Market membership appeals to other parts of the UK. "If that's good enough and possible enough for Northern Ireland, there's no reason why it can't be the case for Scotland".

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Her calls were echoed by Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones and London mayor Sadiq Khan, who both demanded bespoke Brexit deals.

A lawmaker with the Scottish National Party has backed Nicola Sturgeon's call for Scotland to retain access to the single market after Brexit - adding that there'd be no need for a hard border with England in such a situation.

He stressed that the United Kingdom government wanted to achieve "the freest and most frictionless trade with the EU" while "maintaining the deeply integrated trade and economic relationship with the EU".

A leaked draft of plans for the Irish border after Brexit showed British and Irish officials had agreed proposals that would effectively keep Northern Ireland in both the single market and customs union after Brexit by retaining EU regulations - unlike the rest of the UK.

However the announcement prompted anger from Ms May's allies in the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) - who effectively prop up her minority Government - as the party wants Northern Ireland to leave the European Union on the same terms as the rest of the UK.

Mrs May said that while progress had been made in talks, "on a couple of issues some differences do remain which require further negotiation and consultation".

"We have been very clear".

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