Holyrood to make clear its ‘overwhelming’ opposition to Brexit deal

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Holyrood will vote against Theresa May’s Brexit deal next week after all parties except the Tories teamed up and announced they will put a joint motion forward for debate.

The SNP, Labour, the Greens and Liberal Democrats will work together on the issue ahead of next Wednesday’s vote in the Scottish Parliament.

While a vote by MSPs against the draft EU Withdrawal Agreement will not stop the deal from going through, it will become the formal position of the Scottish Parliament, making clear its “overwhelming” opposition to the PM’s plan.

The vote on December 5 will take place less than a week before MPs in the Commons have their say on Mrs May’s proposals.

It comes after talks between Constitutional Relations Secretary Mike Russell, Labour Brexit spokesman Neil Findlay, Ross Greer from the Greens and Lib Dem MSP Tavish Scott.

The four politicians released a joint statement saying there were “confident” they could agree a joint motion, which will recommend rejecting both the PM’s draft deal and a no-deal Brexit.

In their statement Mr Russell, Mr Findlay, Mr Greer and Mr Scott said: “We have been in discussion regarding a single motion for the debate next week, which would be agreed by the four parties and would represent what we hope will be the overwhelming view of the Scottish Parliament.

“We are now confident that we can agree on such a motion, which will reject a ‘no deal’ scenario, recommend rejection of the Prime Minister’s negotiated agreement and point the way towards the alternatives that exist.”

The statement came the day after “the Prime Minister’s stage-managed visit to Scotland, during which she failed to engage with any politicians or individuals who oppose her proposals”.

The four politicians said: “This unique and positive cooperation between four of the five parties at Holyrood indicates Scotland’s strength of feeling on Brexit and the Prime Minister’s untenable position, as well as illustrating the isolation of the Tories on this matter.”

Scottish Conservatives interim leader Jackson Carlaw said it was “deeply regrettable” the other opposition parties at Holyrood had “chosen to stand shoulder-to-shoulder” with the SNP on the issue.

The Tory MSP, who is standing in for Ruth Davidson while she is on maternity leave, added Labour and the Liberal Democrats were “being used as part of the SNP’s drive for a second referendum on independence”.

He said: “These four parties don’t seem to get it. As numerous European leaders have made clear in recent weeks, the alternative to the Prime Minister’s deal is a no-deal scenario.

“It would be devastating for Britain. Yet that is what the SNP, Labour, the Lib Dems and the Greens are risking by opposing the deal on the table.”

Mr Carlaw added: “It’s clear why the SNP and Greens want to oppose that deal.

“They hope a chaotic Brexit will help further their plan to break up Britain.

“But for Richard Leonard and Willie Rennie to help Nicola Sturgeon’s political games next week shows complete naivety.

“They are being used as part of the SNP’s drive for a second referendum on independence.

“That they have chosen to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the SNP next week is deeply regrettable.”

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