This week saw the European Parliament formally vote on its position for negotiations with the UK following the triggering of Article 50.
Crucially, in recital N the Parliament notes that “a large number of United Kingdom citizens, including a majority in Northern Ireland and Scotland, voted to remain in the European Union”. The acknowledgement of Scotland’s remain vote shows a clear will in Brussels to engage with the conundrum we face as a Remain-voting nation within the UK.Read more
This week has been emotional, with the letter finally delivered to trigger Article 50 and commence the process of leaving the EU. It is not inevitable that we do eventually leave, if a week is a long time in politics two years is an eternity, but the clock is now ticking and unless something happens, in two years time the UK will leave the EU. If you have the heart you can read the letter here
The EU has looked on with sadness and regret while the UK has made this decision. As Donald Tusk, president of the Council, said at the end of his statement: “what can I add to this? We already miss you.”Read more
This week my thoughts are with everyone caught up in the dreadful events in London. I wish to join with the president of the European Parliament and extend my deepest sympathies to the victims (twitter.com/EP_President/...)
Though everything else seems to pale to insignificance in contrast to the loss of life, there have been some more developments this week. Notably, that we have a date. Article 50 will be triggered on the 29 March 2017 which is next Wednesday.Read more
The tension is clearly rising as we approach Theresa May’s deadline for triggering article 50. It is not yet clear when the back and forth between the House of Lords and the House of Commons will end. I hope Theresa May will at least have the decency to avoid initiating the UK’s withdrawal from the EU near the 25th March 2017 as that marks the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, which established the European Economic Community.Read more
This week we saw a vision of the future of the EU laid out in a thoughtful, intelligent and sensitive speech from President of the Commission Jean Claude Juncker.
His speech unveiled a White Paper on the future of the EU27. Personally speaking I am desperately sad that Scotland faces not being part of this important conversation. Brexit, if it happens, is not going to uninvent the EU and it is a tragedy that Scotland faces being removed against our will. If you are interested in the full text and explanations of the various options being discussed you can read more here:Read more
The EU has begun to get down to the nitty gritty details and has confirmed that they see the UK paying about €60 billion before leaving. It is not a simple process (the explanation from Politico that I have included covers it well) but remember this is just the first step. Nothing else can be discussed until this is agreed to by the UK. That means that for now all talk of trade deals, discussion over cross border healthcare, farming, environmental regulation, workers’ rights or consumer rights are just pipe dreams.Read more
Last week was a rough one, I don’t mind admitting. Having to watch the House of Commons debate how, when and if the UK Government should begin the withdrawal process from the EU was horrible.
So many lies, so many half-truths, so many unapologetic proven shysters getting away with it. The SNP MPs, and plenty of others, tried their best but the die was cast. The Tories in the UK Government have been given a blank cheque. It turns out “taking back control” actually meant “give control to the Tories”.Read more
This week has been challenging. As the House of Commons voted in favour of handing Theresa May a Brexit blank cheque, the Scottish Parliament voted overwhelmingly against triggering Article 50. Never before has it been so apparent that the views of Scotland’s national legislature and those of Westminster are so at odds. In Holyrood the SNP were joined by the Greens, Liberal Democrats and the majority of Labour in opposing the UK Government’s ‘plan’.Read more
This week MPs backed a bill giving complete control of the process of leaving the EU to the Tories. It went forward despite SNP opposition and only one Scottish MP voting in favour.
There is a still a long way to go, and the fight is not over yet but this illustrates the scale of the challenge. Despite the efforts of the SNP, MPs are simply not holding the government to account. The Bill they have initially approved is a blank cheque with no controls or restraints to rein in the hard Brexit Theresa May is proposing. There is still some time for changes in committee stage but I have very little hope any will be made.Read more