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SIC - Free Tyre Check - 22 Nov 2019

Politics / Northern Isles politicians reject new Brexit deal

POLITICIANS representing the Northern Isles have condemned the Brexit deal reached between the UK government and the EU’s negotiating team, while Scottish secretary Alister Jack hailed it as “great news for Scotland”.

Northern Isles MP Alistair Carmichael.Northern Isles MP Alistair Carmichael. Photo: Shetland News

Isles MP Alistair Carmichael said any Brexit deal “must be put to the people in a referendum with the option to remain in the EU” after a new agreement was reached between the government and the European Union, while the Highlands and Islands SNP MSP, Maree Todd, said the deal ignores Scotland and its voters.

Prime minister Boris Johnson confirmed earlier on Thursday that fresh withdrawal terms had been agreed with the EU ahead of the Brexit deadline of 31 October.

He said it was a “great new deal that takes back control”.

The deal, however, still has to be approved by the European Council as well as both the UK and European parliaments, with Northern Ireland’s DUP signalling their continued concern over the agreement.

Carmichael said that on the details released so far, the deal is not good news for “anyone wanting to protect our economy”.

He also reiterated his desire to see a second referendum held on Brexit.

“I shall wait to see the text before I reach a final judgement, but on the details so far released, this is not a deal that anyone wanting to protect our economy or the unions that make up the United Kingdom can support, the MP said.

“I am particularly concerned by the suggestion that different rules could apply to Northern Ireland. Boris Johnson is playing fast and loose with the constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom.

“No deal that Boris Johnson does is ever going to be as good for our economy as being a part of the European Union. Any deal must be put to the people in a referendum with the option to remain in the EU.”

Maree Todd MSP has vowed to speak up for the isles within the SNP group at Holyrood.Highlands and Islands list MSP Maree Todd

Todd meanwhile said the proposed new Brexit deal would leave Scotland unique among the four UK nations.

While England and Wales both voted to leave the EU, Northern Ireland is being handed a special deal effectively keeping it within the single market and customs union – with the power to change their relationship in future, the Scottish government minister said.

These proposals would leave Scotland unique in voting Remain but being dragged out of the EU with no say over our future relationship, she added.

“Boris Johnson’s proposed Brexit deal is even more extreme than Theresa May’s – and would be worse for jobs and household incomes in the Highlands and Islands,” she said

“The Highlands & Islands voted to remain in the EU – just like every local authority in Scotland – and yet we’ve been entirely sidelined by the Tories ever since.

“It is clearer than ever that the best future for Scotland is one as an equal, independent European nation.”

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said thedeal allowed the UK to get Brexit sorted, and “leave the EU in two weeks’ time as one United Kingdom”.

“It is a real Brexit which ensures we take back control. For Scottish fishermen, this means taking back control of our fishing waters and freeing them from the hated Common Fisheries Policy,” he said.

“For Scotland’s farmers, we will create a new a system of support to help them prosper outside of the Common Agricultural Policy.

“We will no longer be bound by EU laws, and the Scottish Parliament will receive a raft of new powers as they return to the UK from Brussels.

“We will be able to strike our own trade deals around the world, opening up huge opportunities for businesses across Scotland.