Scottish Labour to vote against Brexit trade deal consent

The party's leader Richard Leonard said the deal agreed by the UK Government with the EU was 'half-baked'.

Scottish Labour to vote against Brexit trade deal consent Bloomberg Creative Photos via Getty Images
Brexit: Scottish Labour to oppose trade deal.

Scottish Labour will oppose the Brexit deal in the Scottish Parliament when MSPs vote on whether to give consent to the trade agreement.

The party’s leader Richard Leonard said the deal agreed by the UK Government with the EU was “half-baked” and signalled Scottish Labour would vote against giving consent to the agreement.

The SNP, Scottish Greens and Scottish Liberal Democrats are also expected to refuse consent to the Brexit trade deal in Wednesday’s vote, meaning Holyrood is likely to withhold its approval.

Leonard said: “Boris Johnson promised more than a year ago that he would ‘get Brexit done’, and that his deal was ‘oven ready’ – yet his shambolic Government is racing to ratify its half-baked Brexit deal the day before the end of the transition period.

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“There is no co-production here; no engagement with industry, trade unions or devolved governments on the terms of this trade deal, and barely any parliamentary scrutiny let alone public participation.

“It is our duty to stand up for Scotland in Parliament tomorrow.

“But it is also our duty to protect Scottish businesses and jobs from the damage that this deal will do, and that means the SNP Government must distribute the £300m of Barnett consequentials to businesses as soon as possible.

“We cannot lose sight of the fact that our economy is still in the depths of another crisis that the SNP left Scotland unprepared for. It’s time for a national plan for the Scottish economy.”

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Scottish Labour’s decision puts it at odds with the UK party, with leader Sir Keir Starmer calling on Labour MPs to support the “thin” post-Brexit free trade agreement, despite concerns that it will fail to protect many key economic sectors.

Starmer has argued that the alternative of ending the Brexit transition period on December 31 without a deal in place would be even worse for the economy.

Following Leonard’s announcement, Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross tweeted: “Given the choice to back a trade deal or vote with the SNP, is anyone really surprised that Scottish Labour are set to line up behind the Nationalists?”

In Westminster, Boris Johnson’s trade deal with the European Union has won the backing of the Brexiteer backbenchers, who have said the agreement “preserves the UK’s sovereignty”.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack previously said: “We have secured a historic free trade deal with the EU that delivers for Scotland and the whole of the UK.

“This is a deep and wide-ranging deal, covering trade, security, travel, transport, energy, health and social security.”

He added: “The deal is good news for Scotland and I believe it is now time to move on from the Brexit debate and join forces in embracing our exciting future.

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“Whether Leaver or Remainer in 2016, we need to come to together to make the most of our new opportunities”