Boris Johnson’s Brexit Bill: what you need to know

Boris Johnson’s Brexit Bill is hurtling Scotland towards the cliff edge with his deeply damaging plans to drag Scotland out of the EU against our will, and is even worse than Theresa May’s deal.

With the Brexit Bill brought back to Parliament today, the SNP has tabled an amendment to the Bill, calling on the UK government to recognise Scotland’s overwhelming wish to remain in the EU and to ensure that Scotland cannot leave the EU without the consent of the Scottish Parliament.

Our clear message of escaping Brexit was emphatically endorsed by the people of Scotland in the general election, and SNP MPs will never vote for Brexit.

Here’s what you need to know.

1) It ramps up the risk of a no-deal by December 2020

The Tory government is seeking to add a new clause to the Brexit Bill to strip MPs of opportunities to scrutinise the negotiations, and to make it illegal for Parliament to extend the transition period – ramping up the risk of a no-deal crash-out from the EU by the end of the transition in December 2020.

The EU’s chief negotiator earlier revealed that trade talks will not be concluded in time and that the 11-month timetable is “unrealistic.” A leaked UK government document also highlighted that the Tory leader faces “a major strategic, political and operational challenge” to delivering his Brexit plans by December 2020.

Boris Johnson must not be allowed to go ahead with a reckless no-deal, which would disproportionately hurt the most vulnerable communities and have damaging consequences for our economy, jobs and public services.

2) Every nation of the UK has had their voice respected – apart from Scotland

Boris Johnson’s deal will see every part of the UK get what it wants, except Scotland. Wales and England will get the Brexit they vote for, and Northern Ireland will be given a unique deal giving them a closer relationship to the EU.

Whereas Scotland’s vote to remain will be ignored and dragged out of the European Union by Boris Johnson and the Westminster Parliament.

It cannot be right that Scotland’s constructive proposals for compromise have been dismissed out of hand, while Northern Ireland receives preferential treatment with access to the single market.

We support all efforts to ensure peace and stability on the island of Ireland, but it is an outrage that Northern Ireland will have its unique circumstances respected, and Scotland’s voice has been completely ignored. Scotland voted to remain in the European Union and that must be respected.

3) It puts Scotland at a competitive disadvantage

The special treatment proposed for Northern Ireland, in which it would partly remain in the EU single market and customs union, puts Scotland’s businesses at a serious competitive disadvantage – hurting Scottish exporters and potentially curbing investment.

Following the Brexit vote, the Scottish Government’s compromise proposals – in which Scotland would remain in the single market and the customs union – were completely ignored by the Tories, despite our overwhelming vote to Remain.

Scotland’s economy must not pay the price of Boris Johnson’s intransigence and ideological obsession with a hard Brexit.

4) Brexit will damage Scotland’s economy

These proposals are not much more than a rehash of Theresa May’s Brexit deal – one that Boris Johnson himself had repeatedly voted against. If it wasn’t good enough then, why would it be good enough now? The simple answer is – it’s not.

The disastrous impact of the deal remains unchanged – as the Scottish Government’s analysis showed, it would leave each person in Scotland £1,600 worse off, while also resulting in a 3.9% cut to the UK’s GDP over 15 years, when compared to remaining in the EU.

What’s more, it would slash hard-won rights such as freedom of movement, robbing the people of Scotland of the opportunities to live, work and study across the European Union, as well as harming our public services.

5) Scotland has been completely ignored

In June 2016, Scotland voted decisively in favour of our EU membership, with every single one of the 32 local authority areas voting Remain.

Since then, Westminster has dismissed the votes of the Scottish Parliament at every turn, explicitly ignored Scotland’s economic and social interests, with the Scottish Government left out of negotiations – all at a time while the hardline ERG group on the Tory benches have had a front seat.
This is unacceptable, and SNP MPs will not vote for this disastrous deal.

The Tories’ attitude towards Scotland, with Boris Johnson intent on imposing an extreme Brexit against our will, has torn any pretence of the Union as a “partnership of equals” into shreds.

It’s clearer than ever before that the only way to properly protect Scotland’s interests is by becoming an independent country at the heart of Europe. Join us and and pledge your support for independence – together, we can build a stronger, fairer and more equal Scotland.