First min­is­ters write joint let­ter to ask for de­lay to al­low sec­ond ref­er­en­dum

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - NEWS -

Ni­cola Stur­geon has writ­ten to the Euro­pean Coun­cil to re­quest a lengthy Brexit de­lay so a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum on the UK’s mem­ber­ship can be held.

The first min­is­ter and her Welsh coun­ter­part Mark Drake­ford have sent joint let­ters to both Boris John­son and Euro­pean Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Don­ald Tusk set­ting out their con­cerns over the With­drawal Agree­ment Bill, which was pub­lished yes­ter­day.

The let­ter to the prime min­is­ter urges the UK Gov­ern­ment to se­cure an ex­ten­sion to the Ar­ti­cle 50 process in or­der to pro­vide suf­fi­cient time for the de­volved par­lia­ments in Cardiff and

Ed­in­burgh to carry out their “proper con­sti­tu­tional and demo­cratic func­tions”.

It states: “This bill will be among the most im­por­tant pieces of leg­is­la­tion ever con­sid­ered by the UK Par­lia­ment, the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment and Na­tional Assem­bly for Wales, with far­reach­ing im­pli­ca­tions for the whole of the United King­dom and our fu­ture well-be­ing.

“Both our gov­ern­ments be­lieve the deal you have ne­go­ti­ated with the EU will be even more dam­ag­ing to Wales, Scot­land and the United King­dom than the pre­vi­ous un­ac­cept­able agree­ment made by your pre­de­ces­sor.

“It is es­sen­tial that your gov­ern­ment re­spects de­vo­lu­tion, the leg­isla­tive con­sent process and any de­ci­sions on con­sent that the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment and Na­tional Assem­bly may reach.”

In their let­ter to Mr Tusk, Ms Stur­geon and Mr Drake­ford say it is “sim­ply im­pos­si­ble” for the de­volved par­lia­ments to scru­ti­nise the new agree­ment in the time left avail­able.

It states: “An ex­ten­sion would al­low us to ad­e­quately scru­ti­nise the agree­ment and the draft leg­is­la­tion in ac­cor­dance with our con­sti­tu­tional re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

“While clearly it is a mat­ter for the Coun­cil to con­sider how long such an ex­ten­sion should be, we would favour one which is long enough to en­able a ref­er­en­dum with Re­main on the bal­lot pa­per to be held in the UK.

“Both of our gov­ern­ments and leg­is­la­tures are in favour of such a ref­er­en­dum and of the UK re­main­ing in the EU.”

EU lead­ers are cur­rently con­sid­er­ing whether to grant an ex­ten­sion – re­quested by Mr John­son on Satur­day.

He was forced to send a let­ter to the EU ask­ing for a Brexit de­lay un­der the Benn Act.

Ni­cola Stur­geon set out her con­cerns with her Welsh coun­ter­part

Don­ald Tusk: pres­i­dent

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