The SNP said today the Tories are planning to hit Scotland with a hard or no deal Brexit in less than seven months’ time, on top of the coronavirus crisis, after the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator delivered a damning verdict over the UK government’s reckless approach to talks.
The party’s Shadow Brexit spokesperson added that Scotland’s vital industries – such as manufacturing and agriculture – were at risk as talks reached deadlock once again before the June deadline for a transition extension request.
At a press conference following the fourth round of talks between the EU and the UK, Michel Barnier stated bluntly that “there have been no significant areas of progress,” that the UK was “continuing to backtrack” on its commitments made in the Political Declaration, and that they “don’t think we can go on like this forever.”
Commenting, SNP Shadow Brexit spokesperson Dr Philippa Whitford MP said:
“These are damning remarks from the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator – highlighting the UK government’s refusal to even honour its own commitments and negotiate in good faith.
“This shows a reckless approach to the economy, businesses, and people’s jobs and livelihoods when we are in the middle of the biggest economic and health crisis in living memory.
“Scotland’s economy, key industries, and jobs must not be gambled away by the UK government’s tactics to run down the clock towards a bad deal or a catastrophic No-Deal.
“Scotland’s Food & Drink, manufacturing, fisheries and agriculture sectors would be particularly badly hit by such an extreme outcome.
“This week, Scottish Government analysis found that the UK’s refusal to extend the transition period could take around £3 billion from the Scottish economy in just two years – on top of the already devastating impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
“The EU has shown its willingness to work with the UK and extend the transition period beyond the end of the year which would give some relief to businesses and workers who are already struggling to keep afloat, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The UK government must put its responsibility to the economy and jobs ahead of its narrow political ideology and extend the Brexit transition period without any further delay.”