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Politics / Tory MSP tells Carmichael to back Brexit deal

Highlands and Islands Conservative Jamie Halcro Johnston.

HIGHLANDS and Islands list MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston has accused Northern Isles MP Alistair Carmichael of playing “political games” over Brexit, saying that rejecting Boris Johnson’s deal would be an “act of political vandalism”.

Carmichael called for a referendum on Brexit after prime minister Johnson confirmed on Thursday that a new deal had been agreed between the UK Government and the EU.

The Liberal Democrat MP said that “any deal must be put to the people in a referendum with the option to remain in the EU”.

This has irked Conservative MSP Halcro Johnston, however, who said the deal should be accepted by politicians at Westminster when they vote on Saturday – not least to end the uncertainty hanging over the issue.

“For months now Alistair Carmichael, and other opposition MPs, have been warning against the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal,” he said.

“Now, despite the prime minister and his team, against the odds, negotiating a new deal which avoids that scenario, Alistair Carmichael and the Liberal Democrats are threatening to vote it down.

“This amounts to an act of political vandalism which would destroy trust in our democracy, as well as disrespecting the views of the 17.4m people who voted for Brexit, not to mention the more than 9,000 people who voted Leave in Orkney and Shetland.”

Halcro Johnston claimed that Carmichael’s position “ignores” organisations like the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation and NFU Scotland which he said are keen to see the deal passed.

“And yet all Alistair Carmichael and the LibDems can offer is another referendum – the result of which their leader has said she won’t accept – and years of more division,” he continued.

“Even many of those who voted remain want this deal done and Brexit sorted. The country is yearning to unite and to move on, and they won’t forgive those who unnecessarily prolong the uncertainty.

“Alistair Carmichael should stop playing political games with the future of the country and back the deal.”

In response, the Northern Isles MP said Halcro Johnston “has to explain what has changed since last year, when Ruth Davidson and David Mundell rejected any Brexit deal which would undermine the Union”.

“By creating a border in the Irish Sea, that is exactly what Boris Johnson’s plan does,” Carmichael added.

“It is unfortunate that Jamie Halcro Johnston puts Tory unity above Scotland’s place in the United Kingdom.”