Leading Scots demand Brexit rethink

Leading Scots demand Brexit rethink

The UK author of Article 50 has called for the entire Brexit process to be axed as its “disastrous consequences” become clear.

Lord Brian Kerr said politics was being “undermined” as the countdown continues to Britain’s departure from the bloc in April 2019.

A “UK-wide debate about calling a halt to the process”  was needed, he said, and it was possible for voters to “think again”.

The cross-bench member of the unelected House of Lords was one of more than 60 prominent Scots who wrote an open letter calling the government to consider a re-think.

Former Nato secretary general Lord Hugh Robertson, Scotland’s ex-first minister Henry McLeish and former Liberal Democrat chief Lord Menzies Campbell signed the open letter.

They wrote: “We see our society, economy and politics becoming ever more undermined due to the impact of Brexit.

“We recognise that a narrow majority voted to leave the European Union, but the disastrous consequences are now becoming ever clearer – every day.

“Even before the UK has left the EU, we face falling living standards, rising inflation, slowing growth and lower productivity.

“Our international reputation has been seriously damaged, leaving the UK weak, with diminished influence, in an increasingly uncertain and unstable world.”

The Scottish heavyweights continued: “In a democracy, it is always possible to think again and to choose a different direction. We need to think again about Brexit, to have a UK-wide debate about calling a halt to the process and changing our minds.

“We call for a national debate on Brexit. We ask our fellow citizens, and our politicians, to think again. It is time to call a halt to Brexit.”

Conservative member of the Scottish Parliament Adam Tomkins, who was pro-remain but has converted to Brexit, told the BBC that there was no evidence that Brexit had so far been a catastrophe.

“These are going to be the most complex negotiations the United Kingdom has entered into, probably in my lifetime. But there is a difference between saying that something is going to be difficult and complex and saying it is already turning out to be a catastrophe,” Tomkins said.

“The idea that the country has changed its mind again, there’s just no evidence for it. Eighty per cent of MPs in the House of Commons are in favour of withdrawing from the European Union.

“Nobody is pretending this is easy or straightforward but we are getting on with the job.”

He said UK manufacturing was strong, the country remained the most attractive European country to invest in and the International Monetary Fund had raised its forecast for UK growth this year to 2 per cent.

Meanwhile, Kerr, who helped draft an EU constitution in the early 2000s and his clause setting out the terms for a member country’s departure was introduced to the Lisbon Treaty, said it was possible for Article 50 to be withdrawn. Kerr told Sky: “Legally it would be perfectly possible to take it back.

“Politically, of course, our partners might not be too thrilled if they’d wasted 18 months, 20 months negotiating with us, but I suspect it would be possible to get political agreement where you carry on as before.

“That looks at present an extremely unlikely contingency, but it is there as a possibility.”

Scotland is being dragged out of the EU against its will. Picture credit: Flickr  

 

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