Scotland could get alternate Brexit19/07/17Government
Members of the UK House of Lords have said that there is a ‘strong political and economic case’ for Scotland acquiring an alternative Brexit deal.
The EU committee based at the UK government’s upper house said a different arrangement may be necessary if the UK-wide deal does not reflect Scottish interests.
The devolved government has demanded that Scotland remain in the EU single market following Brexit, but the Lords committee admits that that does not seem anything other than “politically impracticable, legally highly complex and economically potentially disruptive to the functioning of the UK single market”.
However, it did say that Westminster ought to recognise that 62% of voters in Scotland backed the UK remaining in the EU in the 2016 referendum.
In its report, the EU Committee said: ‘We therefore consider that, in the event that the UK government does not secure a UK-wide agreement that adequately reflects Scotland’s specific needs, there is a strong political and economic case for making differentiated arrangements for Scotland.
‘We call on the UK government, in its forthcoming Immigration Bill, to look for opportunities to enhance the role of the devolved institutions in managing EU migration in ways that meet their specific needs.
‘Local and regional economic and demographic needs, rather than central targets, should drive decision-making.’
Edinburgh-based Brexit secretary Michael Russell said: “Our clear position is that we want a way forward that allows Scotland to remain within the single market and this report notes the need for a specific Scottish solution.
“We will do everything we can to help deliver the best possible deal for our society and economy.”
A Downing Street spokeswoman added: “We have been clear that the Repeal Bill will not take away any decision making powers from the devolved administrations immediately after exit.
“As the secretary of state has made clear, it is our expectation that the outcome of this process will provide a significant increase in the decision making power of each devolved administration.”