Oban meeting hears worries over Brexit
EUROPEANS in Oban raised concerns about life in the UK after Brexit at a meeting chaired by Argyll and Bute MSP Michael Russell in Oban Phoenix Cinema on Monday night.
As the Scottish minister responsible for EU negotiations on Scotland’s place in Europe, Mr Russell outlined the position as it stood with regards to the dialogue and negotiations to date. He expressed displeasure with the level of engagement between Prime Minister Theresa May’s government and the Scottish administration.
Key areas that are cause for concern are: freedom of movement of people, goods, capital and services; agricultural funding and support; export tariffs and regulations; environmental regulation; and the protection of human rights.
Questions from the audience ranged from concerns over the Scottish NHS to the position of non-nationals.
A German resident in the audience said she was deeply worried about the uncertainty that surrounded her status. Mr Russell acknowledged that the language of a hard Brexit was damaging, as was the lack of clarity on the position of EU nationals living in the UK.
Addressing the question of protecting the NHS from tendering by American health corporations, Mr Russell said: ‘We have a profound problem in that regard, as protection for the health service will be taken away by Brexit.’
Mr Russell said he was trying to work with ‘a UK government that is very hostile to sharing power.
‘There is a powerful group that believes that the UK parliament is absolutely sovereign, it’s in control and it cannot ever be overruled . . . it will not be told what to do, not by the European Court of Justice or anyone else.’ He concluded: ‘ We are going to see a steady erosion of the powers of the Scottish Parliament.’
Argyll MSP Michael Russell answers questions in Oban about the possible impact of Brexit.