Brexit: What’s the News?

brexit-imageConfused about what is happening as the UK sets to leave the EU?  The Orkney News has laid out some information and the story so far as the clock ticks and Brexit gets ever nearer.

What has happened so far

  • The EU Referendum vote took place on Thursday 23rd June 2016 involving the voters of the UK and Gibraltar.
  • The result was for the UK as a whole: Leave: 51.89% Remain: 48.11%
  • The result for Gibraltar was: Leave:4.1%, Remain: 95.9%
  • The result for Scotland was: Leave: 38%, Remain: 62%
  • The vote was advisory
  • Article 50 to Leave was triggered on 29 March 2017
  •  The withdrawal process is to be concluded by 30 March 2019.

Nothing has yet been agreed between the UK and EU negotiators.

On the 7th of September the Bill to Exit the EU was presented to the UK Parliament. It was previously known as the Great Repeal Bill.

The Law Society of Scotland have issued a statement concerned about the published Bill.

Graham Matthews, President of the Law Society, has said that the draft legislation is “complex, difficult to interpret and lacking in clarity”.

He said:

“The effect of the bill would be to remove the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament in relation to any matter in retained EU law. This would be the case even if it related to areas of law not reserved to the UK under the Scotland Act, such as agriculture or fisheries.”

Michael Russell MSP, the Scottish Government Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe, has sent a letter to David Davis the chief negotiator for the UK about the lack of consultation between the Westminster Government and those of the devolved administrations, even over areas which are the responsibility of the devolved nations.

His letter can be downloaded here 170906 – DavidDavisMP.

Michael Russell states in the letter:

“Given the distinct Scottish jurisdiction and Scottish Government’s responsibilities for funding research in accordance with the devolved settlement it is baffling that the UK Government has chosen not to seek our views.”

He continues to express his ‘alarm’ at the leaked paper on immigration also ‘released’ this week.

“the leaked paper will cause immense damage to our economy and society. It cannot be right that the Scottish Government is being cut out of the decision making process..”

On Monday 11th of September the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier, will meet the Scottish Parliament’s European Committee.

Committee Deputy Convener, Lewis Macdonald MSP,  said:

“These are historic negotiations that will have a profound impact on Scotland and Mr Barnier’s willingness to engage with the Committee is extremely welcome.

“The talks do not appear to be making as much progress as had been expected by this point of time. I am particularly concerned about whether any transitional arrangements can be agreed that allow us to maintain access to the single market in the short-term, and give us time to resolve difficult issues for the long term. I will be seeking to establish whether there is scope for continuing membership of the customs union and the single market in a transitional period.”

Convener of the Committee Joan MacAlpine said:

“As there have been no formal intergovernmental discussions within the UK on the withdrawal process since February this year, speaking to Mr Barnier will allow us to gain a greater understanding of the direction of the talks and the consequences of the negotiations for Scotland.”

The committee has produced a report “CTEERCS052017R04Rev. This is a cross party committee which has taken evidence from a wide range of contributors.

Lesley Laird MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland has written to David Mundell expressing her concerns at the handling of the Brexit process.

“Given that Article 50 was triggered in March, and the first round of negotiations began in June, this lack of engagement and dialogue is unacceptable and is failing the people of Scotland as well as those from other parts of the UK.  By failing to call meetings of the JMC [Joint Ministerial Committee] your Government is failing to deal with these critical matters in an open and transparent way and is excluding Scotland and other devolved administrations from having their voice heard and inputting into the Brexit process via the JMC. “

And  Ian Blackford MP, SNP Westminster Leader commented:

“The Leave campaign promised that Brexit would mean Scotland would automatically get ‘major’ new powers – but the Tories’ plans make a mockery of that claim. Now the Scottish Secretary can’t name a single power that will come to Holyrood – despite himself saying that there would be a ‘powers bonanza’.”

“We cannot and will not let the Tories use Brexit as a smokescreen for a power grab that will leave Scotland worse off. Almost exactly 20 years ago the people of Scotland voted for a devolution settlement which the Tories are now trying to rip up in the hope no one will notice – but they will not get away with it.”

The Orkney News will try to keep you up to date with Brexit as the process unfolds although it must still be stressed that nothing has yet been decided or negotiated. 

Reporter: Fiona Grahame


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1 reply »

  1. “Confused” doesn’t describe it.
    I’m still hopeful that it won’t happen – but I do have a terrible tendency to optimism. Also having a tendency to depressive states of mind – optimism is the only way to survive! Sounds contradictory, but it isn’t – looking to good things returning, is what gets a person through the rough bits.

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