Opposition MSPs Urged To Back Scottish Government Single Market Call

15 November 2016, 05:28

The Scottish Government is to ask opposition MSPs to back its call for Scotland to remain in the single market after Brexit.

Economy Secretary Keith Brown will lead a debate at Holyrood urging other parties to support its position.

The Government has lodged a motion which states "the UK Government should seek to maintain Scotland's place in the single market and, in the event that the UK Government cannot or will not secure that option, calls for Scotland's place in the single market to be fully protected''.

Scottish Labour - which supports remaining in the single market - said it will oppose any attempts by the SNP to "force another independence referendum''.

The Scottish Conservatives said they will use the debate to urge the Government to look at other potential deals for trade, including membership of the European Economic Area, a deal similar to Norway or Switzerland's or a trade agreement like the one signed by Canada.

The UK Government has previously said it will seek a "bespoke'' deal with the European Union.

SNP MSP Bruce Crawford said: "Every area of Scotland voted to remain in the EU and today's debate is an opportunity for the Tories and all other parties to reject a hard Brexit and stand up for Scotland.

"The Conservative manifesto gave an unequivocal pledge for the UK to remain in the single market and other parties have been equally clear.

"At this crucial stage while the UK Government is still working out its negotiating position, this is the time to make Scotland's voice heard and challenge head-on those who want to lead us out of the single market with all the costs to Scottish jobs and the economy.''

Scottish Labour's economy spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said: "It is illogical for the SNP to spend so much energy making the case for the EU single market yet at the same time campaigning to leave the much more valuable UK single market.

"Leaving the UK would cost jobs and mean £15 billion of cuts to public services like schools and the NHS over and above those already being forced on us by the Tories.

"It's time for the SNP to accept that remaining in the UK is far more important to Scotland than being part of the European Union.

"That's why Scottish Labour will oppose any attempts by the SNP to force another independence referendum on the people of Scotland.''

Scottish Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser said: "This is the eleventh debate the Scottish Government has held on the consequences of Brexit, with increasingly little new to say on the subject.

"It talks about membership of the single market but that concept simply does not exist separately from membership of the EU, as I'm sure its committee of expert advisers has told it.

"You would think nearly five months on from the Brexit vote, after all the attention paid to this issue by the First Minister and her cabinet, we might be a little further forward.

"But there is still absolutely no clarity on where the Scottish Government stands on these matters while all the time it demands absolute clarity from the UK Government which is conducting the negotiation.''