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European Union Exit

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 30th October 2019.

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Photo of Michael Russell Michael Russell Scottish National Party

The number of bodies under the Brexit bus is quite considerable. Northern Ireland has been thrown under the Brexit bus, along with Scottish businesses—soon there will be no room underneath it, and they will have to get another bus with another vacuous and inaccurate slogan on it.

The reality of this deal, as I indicated in my statement, is that Scottish businesses will be put at a disadvantage. It is obviously so, because Northern Ireland will have direct access to the single market and will be in two customs zones. There will be considerable difficulties in implementing that, including at Scottish ports, but there is no doubt that it will work against the interests of Scotland. If people were going to set up a business that needed to work with or within the EU, they would do so in Northern Ireland and not in Scotland. That is where we are now.

The other great disadvantage is the democratic disadvantage. It is wrong that Northern Ireland should have the opportunity to say yes or no to this deal on a regular basis. It is quite interesting that, apparently, having an independence referendum after six or seven years is wrong but the situation in Northern Ireland can be looked at every four years. That seems a rather curious contradiction. The reality is that the deal favours Northern Ireland. I am not against Northern Ireland being given all the special treatment that it wants, but Scotland should not be left at a disadvantage as a result.