Oban meet­ing hears wor­ries over Brexit

The Oban Times - - NEWS -

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.

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