The Scottish Government published its assessment of the revised deal yesterday. As I said yesterday, the deal will make Scotland poorer and hit jobs and living standards. It is a worse deal than the one that Theresa May negotiated, and a basic trade agreement of the type that Boris Johnson wants to negotiate will cost each person in Scotland the equivalent of £1,600 compared with the cost of EU membership.
Brexit is already having a damaging effect on Scotland. A recent report from the Fraser of Allander institute highlights that our economy is already around £3 billion smaller than it would have been in the absence of a vote to leave the EU. The damage that the deal will do shows why people in Scotland must have the right to choose their own future.
I note with some depression what the cabinet secretary said about the hugely negative impacts of Brexit.
With Scottish businesses at a competitive disadvantage, environmental and workers’ rights up for the chop and Scotland’s voice being ignored, does the cabinet secretary agree that Boris Johnson’s bad Brexit deal should, and will, be rejected by the public when they get the chance to have their say?
The question of consent is a crucial one in that regard. We have strongly expressed our support for the Good Friday agreement and we absolutely agree that Northern Ireland should have the deal that it wishes to have. However, Scotland should be consulted about the deal that we are meant to get, which is a very bad deal and is much worse than the deal for Northern Ireland.
Of course, there is no provision in the agreement for Scotland to consent to it. The Northern Ireland Assembly would have to give consent and the periods of consent would be as short as four years, yet the Conservatives here and at Westminster refuse to allow the Scottish people or this Parliament a deciding vote on what should happen. That is profoundly antidemocratic, and I believe that they will pay the price for that.