Scotland in Europe Update: 1st March 2019

Amid the week’s sound and fury Mrs May has for the first time explicitly put both a way for the House of Commons to block a no-deal Brexit, and to extend the Article 50 period, on the table. Both are news, as is Labour’s slight shift in policy in changing its language on a second EU referendum if no other way out presents itself.

But she’s put them on the table in a way that makes using them almost impossible and keeps her in charge. Nonetheless, the prospect of a delay, giving us more time to turn this around, did nudge up a notch or so yesterday, so we need to be ready for all eventualities.

The SNP is accordingly putting a list of candidates together for the European elections in May, should we participate, and I am indeed putting myself forward as a candidate. You can read more of my thoughts here:

Many things are unclear, but whatever happens we’ll make sure we’re ready to press Scotland’s advantage and if I pass vetting and am selected to stand, I want to play my part.

Those last words are not mock-humble platitudes, the SNP is tough on selections as indeed we should be. The members are in charge, and there’s no presumption of incumbency. I hope I’ve put in a decent shift and played for the jersey since 2004 but at every selection I have gone through we go back to square one along with everyone else.

I’ll take nothing for granted. It is also a tough gig. Lots of time away from home and loved ones and near constant travel. Each time I have put myself forward for reselection I’ve had an honest conversation with myself about whether I should, and I have for this one too.

But I have decided I do want to be part of it, because we need serious experienced people at our posts. Also, I have no doubt the SNP will win (as we did in 2009 and 2014 – you would be forgiven to have missed it but there was a European election in 2014) and I can help that happen. Indeed, it could be our most important European election ever.

If I’m selected, I’ll be at my post fighting to bring some sense to this, highlighting that there’s no good Brexit. Scotland’s interests are assuredly best served by remaining in the EU.

Yours aye,



The UK Government produced a summary of the implications of a no-deal scenario. It is bleak reading: the Scottish economy would take an 8% hit, many businesses in the food supply industry are unprepared and the EU would introduce tariffs of around 70% on Scotch beef and 45% on Scotch lamb exports.

Labour has (with a list of caveats) finally said that it may back another EU referendum.

The Irish Government has emphasised they would support a long extension to Article 50.

As the Tánaiste emphasised when discussing a disorderly Brexit: “Make no mistake such a result will be a lose, lose, lose for the people of the United Kingdom, Ireland and the European Union.”

The Russell Group has called for the UK Government to scrap their plans for an European Temporary Leave to Remain (ETLR) visa in the event of a no-deal scenario because it would prevent EU students from accessing Scottish undergraduate degrees.

This sentiment was echoed by the UK's main manufacturing association who have said that the proposed new post-Brexit immigration rules would "decimate" factory workforces.

Net migration from the EU is, unsurprisingly at its lowest level since 2009.

The Scottish Government has presented independent research showing that the UK Government’s plans could cut the number of workers in Scotland by up to five per cent over the next two decades.

Jolyon Maugham QC explains the judicial review he is bringing against the Government’s ‘serious shortage protocols’ which are a real danger to the British public’s health – and may be illegal.

The UK Government has agreed to pay Eurotunnel £33m after the Brexit ferry debacle.

There are serious concerns about the UK chemicals industry post Brexit.

British steel may face a financial loss of £100 million in the event of a No-Deal Brexit.

The EU continues to emphasise to Theresa May that they will only offer a reassurance on the backstop (not a change to the backstop) when she can prove it will deliver her a majority in the House of Commons.

Theresa May is currently offering MPs a further vote by the 12 March.

Theresa May has confirmed that the UK will impose tariffs on imported food in the event of a no-deal.

In a twist that would be hilarious if it wasn’t so serious, no-deal advocates have realised that the UK doesn’t have the rights sort of pallets for exporting to the EU unless we have a deal.