Scotland calls on Britain for ‘equal’ role in Brexit talks

October 23, 2016 9:30 pm

’s minister Michael Russell (file photo)

Scotland has demanded to be an “equal partner” in the negotiations to withdraw the from the European Union (EU), stepping up a heated war of words with .
Michael Russell, the Scottish government’s newly appointed minister for Brexit, blasted the British government on Sunday for refusing to recognize the Scottish people’s will to stay in the EU.
During an EU referendum on June 23, Scotland voted 62 percent to 38 percent to remain in the 28-member bloc, but Britons voted to leave, 52 percent to 48 percent.
“The clearly expressed views of the people of Scotland, the democratically elected Scottish government and the Scottish parliament all need to be respected. But four months on from the referendum, we have yet to see a proposal from the UK government on how the views of people in Scotland will be taken into account,” Russell said.
He said British Prime Minister Theresa May “must use the time before triggering article 50 to engage properly with all the devolved administrations and show that they are willing and able to treat Scotland as an equal partner.”
May was slated to host a Joint Ministerial Committee (JMC) meeting with the leaders of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on Monday, to discuss the issue for the first time.
The British premier has made it clear that she will complete the Brexit process by 2019 and that Scotland holds no veto over it.
Scotland, in response, has threatened to secede from the UK in order to preserve its EU membership, which in turn guarantees the country’s access to the EU single market.
Experts warn that in case of a hard Brexit, the UK might face an economic crisis as it would lose its preferential access to the single market.
According to a leaked document, Britain could lose up to £66 billion ($81 billion) a year in gross domestic product (GDP) and lose almost a tenth of its tax revenue with a tough exit.
Besides Scotland, Northern Ireland was another part of the UK to vote against leaving the EU. Wales, on the other hand, supported the decision.
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