Scottish EU coalition splits – but parliament still backs single market 


SNP and Greens back Scottish single market membership, while Labour abstain 

THE SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT has backed full membership of the European Single Market – but only two of the five major parties supported the government motion. 

The Scottish National Party and the Scottish Greens voted in favour of keeping the country within the major European trading block, which is the largest in the world covering a population of over 500 million citizens. 

The motion, which “calls for Scotland’s place in the single market to be fully protected”, was passed by 65 votes to 32.

The Tories, who oppose a separate deal for Scotland with the EU, voted against the motion, as did the Liberal Democrats. 

Scottish Labour, who had previously supported continuing Scottish membership of the European Union, abstained on the final motion – having argued for “access” to the single market, a principle short of full membership.

Scottish Government ministers Keith Brown and Michael Russell advocated full membership as the best deal for the country, on the basis that it would ensure continued tariff-free trade in goods and services. 

Scottish Greens co-convener Patrick Harvie also supported the motion, following the Greens continued support for cross party efforts to maintain the country’s place in Europe. 

However Scottish Labour, which previously spoke in favour EU membership for Scotland, opposed the motion. 

Jackie Baillie abandons Labour support for Scottish Single Market membership 

Spokesperson Jackie Baillie said the government should avoid the  “difficult to achieve” negotiating aim of full single market membership in upcoming Brexit talks. 

Prior to the EU referendum, the leaders of all major parties said “staying in Europe and its single market of over 500 million people is vital for jobs, investment and opportunities for the people of Scotland.”

The Scottish Government has pledged to publish plans to remain in the single market before the end of the year.

Picture courtesy of European Parliament

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