We can’t be in pas­sen­ger seat if UK is driven off Brexit cliff edge

Daily Record - - IAN BLACKFORD -

AS MPs pre­pare to vote on Theresa May’s failed Brexit deal this week, the out­come of the days ahead will be cru­cial for Scot­land’s fu­ture.

Yes­ter­day, the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment wrote to all MPs at West­min­ster urg­ing them to re­ject the dam­ag­ing deal be­ing pro­posed by the Tory Gov­ern­ment and rule out a cat­a­strophic no deal Brexit.

We can­not al­low the UK Gov­ern­ment to take us off the Brexit cliff edge, which would de­stroy Scot­tish jobs, squeeze liv­ing stan­dards, and in­flict last­ing harm on our econ­omy and pub­lic ser­vices.

We know from the UK Gov­ern­ment’s own anal­y­sis that there is no such thing as a good Brexit.

Tak­ing Scot­land out of the EU, and ter­mi­nat­ing our mem­ber­ship of the world’s largest sin­gle mar­ket and cus­toms union, would leave the coun­try poorer for many decades to come.

The im­pact on our econ­omy would be dev­as­tat­ing – re­duc­ing Scot­tish GDP by up to nine per cent, putting 80,000 jobs at risk, and cost­ing us more than £12.7bil­lion a year – a loss equiv­a­lent to £2300 for ev­ery per­son in the coun­try.

The re­al­ity of a Tory Brexit – whether it’s leav­ing the EU with May’s deal or no deal at all – would mean higher prices and squeezed wages for us all, more lo­cal busi­nesses go­ing un­der, more peo­ple be­ing made re­dun­dant, and less money avail­able to fund our NHS and pub­lic ser­vices.

It would also mean fewer op­por­tu­ni­ties for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions. End­ing free­dom of move­ment would stop young peo­ple hav­ing the right to live, work and study freely across 27 EU coun­tries.

It would in­flict se­ri­ous dam­age on the abil­ity of our NHS, uni­ver­si­ties, agri­cul­tural sec­tor and busi­nesses to re­cruit the work­ers they need – harm­ing the qual­ity of health­care and ed­u­ca­tion and in­creas­ing the cost of our weekly shop. This week,

THROUGH­OUT my life, I’ve been for­tu­nate enough to be able to travel, live and work across Europe with ease be­cause of Scot­land’s re­la­tion­ship with our fam­ily of EU na­tions.

Within my own fam­ily, I am look­ing for­ward to wel­com­ing the world to my grand­child this month.

How­ever, it pains me that if Scot­land is dragged down the Brexit road, then those very same rights that I and my chil­dren en­joy will be ripped away from my grand­child and their gen­er­a­tion.

May and Jeremy Cor­byn must fi­nally face up to the cat­a­strophic dan­gers of the Brexit im­passe they have pushed the coun­try to­wards. The UK Gov­ern­ment have failed to get a good deal and, in­stead of ploughing ahead down this reck­less Brexit path, Par­lia­ment must take back con­trol and find a bet­ter way for­ward.

Hav­ing wasted so much time, and hav­ing brought the coun­try to the brink of chaos and cri­sis, the UK Gov­ern­ment must now agree to the SNP’s plea to halt or re­voke Ar­ti­cle 50 to give us more time be­yond the March 29 dead­line.

This would al­low time for a sec­ond EU ref­er­en­dum, with the op­por­tu­nity for Scot­land and the UK to re­main in the EU – the best deal pos­si­ble. As the dam­age of Brexit be­comes clearer, and with the UK Gov­ern­ment hav­ing failed to do their job, the de­ci­sion should go back to the peo­ple.

Scot­land voted over­whelm­ingly to re­main in the EU – and we have other op­tions should the West­min­ster par­ties fail to se­cure a way out of this Tory Brexit mess. We can take our fu­ture into our own hands with in­de­pen­dence.

As we en­ter this defin­ing week, let me be clear – the SNP will not sit idly by and al­low West­min­ster to threaten Scot­land’s econ­omy, jobs and liveli­hoods. We will not al­low Scot­land’s voice to be si­lenced or our in­ter­ests to be side­lined. If the Tory Gov­ern­ment re­ally are in­tent on driv­ing the UK off the Brexit cliff-edge, then Scot­land can­not be in the pas­sen­ger seat.

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