Scotland in Europe Update: 16th November 2018

It has been a quiet(er) hour or two – which means I have at least had the chance to write this – but the rest of the week has been chaos and madness in London. Ministers have resigned, letters of no confidence handed in, and I watched MPs one by one stand up to condemn the deal as ‘not good enough’. These were, of course, the same MPs who so enthusiastically cheered the disastrous act of triggering Article 50 when it was obvious they had no idea what they actually wanted to achieve.

There is no good news in it for Scotland: the UK (despite promising to represent our interests) did not even secure a single mention for Scotland. Had the UK sought special terms recognising our clear pro-EU sentiment, then ideas would have been looked at on their merits. But they didn’t, and the EU cannot solve our problems for us in the teeth of opposition from our own UK Government. You can read more of my thoughts here:
You can also judge for yourself, the full deal is available here:
and an outline of the future relationship between the EU and the UK here:

The latter is just 7 pages. After all this we are being told nothing about the UK’s plans for our future. Meanwhile, in Strasbourg this week I’ve been answering questions for the European media, and meeting with fellow MEPs from across the continent to re-emphasise Scotland’s view on Brexit.

Across the board the response of our European friends is “what the hell is the UK doing?”

They respect the process that led us to the referendum result, but do not understand why the UK has behaved as it has since. In attempting to square an impossible circle Mrs May has produced the worst of all worlds to both remain and leave voters.

Remember, this “deal” is only the exit, if it happens. This was supposed to be the easy bit. Whatever happens in the coming months, unless we vote down Mrs May’s lamentable fudge now, we’ll all be doing Brexit for years to come.



A cross-party group of politicians (including me) had a successful week as the UK Supreme Court refused the UK Government's latest attempt to stop the hearing of our case in Luxembourg.

MEPs across all parties have condemned Theresa May’s deal.

Nicola Sturgeon has also said that the deal is bad for Scotland.

The next step from the EU side will be a council meeting on 25 November. Donald Tusk’s remarks announcing that are linked below. I agree entirely: “Brexit is a lose-lose situation, and our negotiations are only about damage control.”

In case you fancy a more palatable summary of the withdrawal agreement, the Institute for Government has produced this:

The Centre on European Relations has put together this very good assessment of what can happen next.

They have also produced a more detailed assessment of what happens if the House of Commons reject May’s deal.

The stock market had a challenging week and the pound again fell in value as investors expressed their concern about the future.

The IMF has warned that a no-deal Brexit would cost Britain 6% of its GDP.

Firms are struggling to recruit overseas because of fears about post-Brexit Britain.

In the event of no deal the UK will need state aid bailouts to protect industry.

Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Mexico, New Zealand, Paraguay, Taiwan, Thailand, the U.S. and Uruguay signed a joint document demanding the establishment of a mechanism to provide "appropriate compensation" to ensure they do not end up worse off from the establishment of the UK’s WTO schedules.

Fintan O'Toole has a written an excellent longer read on ‘The paranoid fantasy behind Brexit’.

And finally, the EU has produced a handy new website showing what it does for you in your area.