There is so much at stake in Brexit talks

East Kilbride News - - NEWS -

and other fam­ily events on main­land Europe which are hap­pen­ing be­yond the Brexit date of March 29, 2019.

Last week, I was down at West­min­ster my­self – for talks with the Bri­tish Ir­ish Par­lia­men­tary Assem­bly – rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Scot­land, Wales, the Chan­nel Is­lands, Isle of Man, Ire­land, North­ern Ire­land and the UK.

This group was set up fol­low­ing the Good Fri­day Agree­ment which brought peace to North­ern Ire­land, to pro­mote dia­logue and joint work­ing.

Since the 2016 ref­er­en­dum, most of the dis­cus­sions have cen­tred upon Brexit and lat­terly on con­cerns about the Ir­ish bor­der. Ire­land is an EU na­tion, the UK is leav­ing the EU. There­fore, a po­ten­tial bor­der with all the trou­bles that may bring back to the is­land of Ire­land.

It was ob­vi­ous at the meeting that ten­sions and emo­tions are ris­ing rel­a­tive to this, and not helped by the UK Government min­is­ter’s lack of un­der­stand­ing of the his­tory and cur­rent sit­u­a­tion, her plat­i­tudes and her undiplo­matic re­marks.

I’m not giv­ing away any se­crets here – her ses­sion was open to the press and me­dia and re­ported upon.

The view of many is that the en­tire Peace Agree­ment is at risk and this is, of course, ex­tremely se­ri­ous. In re­la­tion to Scot­land, I found the min­is­ter’s lack of knowl­edge quite breath­tak­ing.

Al­though the UK Government clearly has no plan, the Scot­tish Government does. The Scot­tish Government has re­peat­edly set out a plan to pro­vide a ba­sis for ne­go­ti­a­tion with Euro­pean part­ners, to break the im­passe and give a ba­sis for com­pro­mise.

The UK Government should start think­ing about the good of the coun­try in­stead of their own party mem­bers; they should re­vise their po­si­tion to dis­cuss the sce­nario that the whole of the UK re­mains within the Euro­pean Sin­gle Mar­ket and the Cus­toms Union. It’s only then that we can start talk­ing se­ri­ously about pro­tect­ing jobs, liv­ing stan­dards, rights and an open bor­der be­tween Ire­land and North­ern Ire­land.

Time can be gained to dis­cuss all of this fur­ther – the UK Government could seek an ex­ten­sion to the with­drawal date at end March next year.

This would al­low fur­ther dis­cus­sion and a con­cen­sus to be reached across the UK and with EU part­ners. This would avoid a hur­ried and dam­ag­ing exit and all of the con­cerns that are now be­ing aired – food short­ages, NHS staff losses, medicine sup­plies amongst oth­ers.

I voted to Re­main in the EU. I know that many voted to Leave.

Scot­land as a whole voted to Re­main – ev­ery lo­cal author­ity area.

The Scot­tish Government’s pri­or­ity is to pro­tect Scot­land at ev­ery turn and has come up with a cred­i­ble plan to do so, a plan that would also ben­e­fit the peo­ple of the whole of the UK and as­sist with the Ir­ish bor­der sit­u­a­tion.

Dur­ing the In­de­pen­dence Ref­er­en­dum of 2014, we were re­peat­edly told that Scot­land was a re­spected part­ner within the UK: “Lead, don’t leave!”, they said.

Well, we’re try­ing to – on this most im­por­tant of mat­ters Scot­land should be heard.

The view of many is that the en­tire Peace Agree­ment is at risk and this is, of course, ex­tremely se­ri­ous...

Time’s running out­Will Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May get a Brexit deal?

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