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MP: Government ‘utter shambles’ on Brexit

Alistair CarmichaelNorthern 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.

“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.”