UK Labour seek vague “special arrangements” for Scotland in Brexit process


Keir Starmer: Labour will seek unique Brexit deal for devolved nations 

FORCING SCOTLAND OUT the European Union against the will of its electorate has become more difficult for the Tory Government, as the Labour opposition has pledged to seek a special Brexit deal for Scotland.

Uncertainty over the triggering of Article 50 to leave the EU has raised the prospect of the UK Parliament debating negotiation priorities before any talks can begin. 

Now Labour Brexit secretary Keir Starmer has said that the party will oppose a one-size fits all approach to EU exit. 

In an interview with the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire, Starmer said: “We are clear that we need the fullest possible access to the single market, that we should be in the customs union, and that there should be special arrangements for Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland.”

The comments are the first time a senior UK Labour spokesperson had called for a different approach to Brexit for each of the nations of the UK. 

However, it remains unclear what exactly Starmer means by “special arrangements”. 

When approach by CommonSpace, Labour did not explain whether these “arrangements” should be purely procedural – for instance giving the Scottish Government a seat at the negotiating table – or whether Labour supports a more substantial Scottish Brexit deal, which is being considered by the Scottish Government. 

The Scottish Labour party has argued that Scotland should remain within the European Union as every part of the country voted to stay. 

Scottish leader Kezia Dugdale asked the party’s former justice secretary Lord Falconer to investigate a “federalist” solution to keep Scotland in both the EU and the UK. 

Scottish Government will publish Brexit negotiation plan this year

Other voices in the party such as Simon Pia, Henry McLeish, Malcolm Chistholm, and David Martin have said they now support or are open to supporting Scottish independence following the Brexit vote. 

There remains a lack of clarity on the Brexit process almost five months since the referendum result. 

Attempts to establish a working arrangement between Scotland and the Westminster government have been “frustrating”, according to the Scottish Government. 

The Tory government has been scathing and dismissive of calls for Scotland to remain in the EU, despite all 32 electoral areas of the country supporting a remain vote. 

While Tory ministers have poured cold water on calls for a Scotland specific Brexit deal, four of Scotland’s five biggest parties supported this strategy in the national parliament. 

Picture courtesy of Chatham House

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