Scotland in Europe Update: 21st December 2018

Finally, some good news! As you’ll know, six politicians: Andy Wightman MSP, Ross Greer MSP, Catherine Stihler MEP, David Martin MEP, Joanna Cherry MP, and I have – with Jolyon Maugham QC – been on a long legal journey to find out if the UK can stop Brexit. Yesterday, the Scottish Court of Session issued a declaration confirming this month’s earlier decision from the European Court of Justice.

“in terms of the opinion of the Court of Justice of the European Union dated 10 December 2018 and the petitioners and reclaimers’ second plea-in-law, find and declare that Article 50 TEU must be interpreted as meaning that, where a Member State has notified the European Council, in accordance with that article, of its intention to withdraw from the European Union, that article allows that Member State — for as long as a withdrawal agreement concluded between that Member State and the European Union has not entered into force or, if no such agreement has been concluded, for as long as the two-year period laid down in Article 50(3) TEU, possibly extended in accordance with that paragraph, has not expired — to revoke that notification unilaterally, in an unequivocal and unconditional manner, by a notice addressed to the European Council in writing, after the Member State concerned has taken the revocation decision in accordance with its constitutional requirements. The purpose of that revocation is to confirm the EU membership of the Member State concerned under terms that are unchanged as regards its status as a Member State, and that revocation brings the withdrawal procedure to an end;”

This is a total vindication of our bringing the case in the first place, a vindication of Scotland’s vote to remain, and a vindication of Scotland’s position as an independent judiciary within the United Kingdom. UK ministers have been given a comprehensive skelp from the highest court in Scotland and should now ask themselves why they went to such lengths to reduce the options that we all face.

As everybody begins to prepare for no deal, Scotland has shown the way out. We have other choices and in the New Year I hope the Tory and Labour front benches in Westminster will start to deal with the reality of what we face.

There is a long way to go yet but Brexit can still be defeated.

This is the final Scotland in Europe update for 2018, so all that is left is for me to do is wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. All the best to you and yours.

The next bulletin will be after the holidays so you will next hear from me on the week beginning the 7thJanuary.



The Herald has some good coverage here of our final day in court.

The Scottish Government has unveiled a scheme that will provide a new advice service to European citizens in Scotland affected by changes in the immigration rules as a result of Brexit.

The UK Government plans to cut EU immigration by 80% after Brexit. This will be devastating for Scotland’s economy and society.

You can read full details of the plans here but the headline is that there will be no labour migration for EU citizens earning less than £30,000 per year. That means no nurses, teachers, carers, fruit pickers or hospitality workers. Huge swathes of the Scottish economy will be devasted.

The BMA immediately emphasised their concern about the impact this would have on “vast swathes of the NHS workforce coming from overseas”.

The EU ruled out a so-called ‘managed no deal’, presumably on the grounds that there is no such thing.

The European Commission implemented the first stage of their no deal contingency planning. Among the various terrifying announcements was that they would only manage basic connectivity between Scottish airports and the continent.

The Irish too have unveiled a legislative programme to prepare for a no deal scenario.

Even Cabinet Ministers have now started to realise that a second referendum may be essential.

Full Fact have put together an assessment of how accurate forecasts for the impact of Brexit have been. In reality in the medium term they have proven accurate.

Finally, the Glasgow Loves EU group is carol singing in front of GOMA in Royal Exchange Sq tomorrow between 4 and 5pm.