St Andrew’s Day event at European Parliament to celebrate ‘inclusive’ Scotland

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Scotland’s “outward-looking and compassionate spirit” will be the theme of a St Andrew’s Day celebration at the European Parliament in Brussels.

External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop will use a meeting with MEPs from the Brexit Steering Group today to declare that, despite Brexit, Scotland remains welcoming and open.

Ms Hyslop will say: “St Andrew’s Day is an opportunity for all of Scotland to celebrate the outward-looking and compassionate spirit of our nation – values that Scots are renowned for worldwide.

“Especially this year, in the face of the many challenges posed by Brexit, this is a time to reaffirm our commitment as an open, welcoming, inclusive nation.

“Remaining in the EU continues to be our strong preference and we believe the political declaration on the future relationship represents a dangerous ‘blindfold’ Brexit.”

She will add: “The deal between the EU and the UK doesn’t work for Scotland. It will see us lose our rights as EU citizens and ignores our distinct needs on inward migration.

“Most importantly, it will leave our nation – and indeed the whole of the UK -economically and socially poorer.

“That is why we will continue to seek support for a compromise position that sees Scotland maintain membership of the Single Market and Customs Union, which is eight times bigger than the UK market alone.

“We will do everything we can to help steer Scotland – and the UK – towards a better future.”

The critical speech at the St Andrew’s Day celebration follows First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s claim Theresa May is “governing by threat” as she seeks to impose an “unacceptable” Brexit deal on Scotland.

The First Minister hit out at the Prime Minister as a new report from the Scottish Government warned the draft deal to leave the European Union could result in “loss equivalent to £1,610 per person in Scotland compared to EU membership by 2030”.

Downing Street is expected to issue its own economic analysis of Brexit scenarios on Wednesday afternoon.

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