News / MP: Government ‘utter shambles’ on Brexit

Northern Isles MP Alistair Carmichael. Photo: Shetland News

THE UK Government’s attempts to negotiate the terms of Brexit is an “utter shambles”, according to Orkney and Shetland’s MP.

Alistair Carmichael said the recent resignations of Brexit secretary David Davis and home secretary Boris Johnson showed that prime minister Theresa May has “no authority”.

The UK is poised to leave the European Union on 29 March next year, but there has been disagreements within the Conservatives over the vision for post-Brexit.

Liberal Democrat Carmichael said on Wednesday that despite being involved in politics since he was 14, he has “never seen a government as incapable of functioning as this one is”.

On Thursday the government issued a post-Brexit blueprint called The future relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union.

“I will queue to buy popcorn with the rest when it comes to watching Tories fighting chunks out of each other,” Carmichael added, “but at the end of the day, this is the government that we have, and it’s a time when we need an effective, functioning government, and we haven’t got one.


“The political partisan in me takes a bit of schadenfreude from the mess that the government are in, but I’m not just a political partisan – like everybody else, we rely on the government to do what is necessary to keep us as a stable, prosperous nation, and we’re not getting that at the moment.”

Carmichael also reaffirmed his view that there should be a referendum on whether the public is happy with the final Brexit deal.

“If you’re going to bring the 52 per cent and 48 per cent back together, then that’s the only way you’re going to be able to do it,” he suggested.

“If the hard Brexit that Boris Johnson says that we need and that he wanted is not being delivered, then you have to think that he’s not going to be happy with the final deal either.

Become a supporter of Shetland News


“So I think from both sides of the argument, once we know what Theresa May is able to deliver then as it was a process that was started by the people, it should be finished by the people.”

Conservative Highlands and Islands list MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston, however, said those calling for another referendum on the final deal are “sowing the seeds of confusion and uncertainty”.

“While those at the extremes of both the Leave and the Remain camps are unlikely to be satisfied by any reasonable outcome, the UK Government’s proposals for our future relationship with the EU will provide business with frictionless access to the single market, maintain our high environmental standards and ensure that our fishermen are finally out of the despised Common Fisheries Policy,” he said.


“It is important that we work effectively with our EU neighbours, and the Prime Minister has outlined an arrangement that will ensure we continue to cooperate and trade with one-another in the future. Those who relish a no-deal result in these negotiations have been completely unable to present a plan of their own that is in the interests of Britain and in the interests of communities like ours.

“It is unfortunate that the Liberal Democrats seem unable to get behind the UK Government’s position and are instead clinging to their attempts to overturn the democratic outcome of the referendum, sowing the seeds of confusion and uncertainty.”

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.



Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.