This week the Scottish Government will publish a detailed study on the implications of leaving the European Union. Here’s what First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said ahead of the publication.
More than eighteen months on from the Brexit vote, it beggars belief that the UK Government is not only still unable to say what kind of relationship it wants with the EU, but has also failed to produce any meaningful economic assessment of the different possibilities.
Bluntly, the hard Brexiteers have had their chance and failed.
They have completely failed to explain how their approach could even remotely come close to replacing the enormous lost trade and investment of leaving the Single Market.
That means there is now a golden opportunity for those moderate voices who are making the case for Scotland and the UK to remain in the single market.
It will be a fundamental dereliction of duty as Prime Minister if Theresa May continues to pursue her red lines without providing information on their impact, and publicly discussing the options available.
Of course, there is no alternative arrangement that can deliver the jobs, people and economic benefit that come from remaining members of the European Union – but if the UK continues down the path of leaving the EU, it is the Prime Minister’s duty to do as little harm as possible to the economy.
The Scottish Government is absolutely clear that, if the UK is indeed leaving the EU, then it must stay within the Single Market and Customs Union to prevent needless job losses and cuts in living standards.
There is zero credible evidence to suggest leaving the Single Market will bring any benefit to our economy. Indeed, as our analysis will show – the harder the Brexit the worse will be the outcome.
With only around nine months left for the UK Government to conclude negotiations with the EU, there is no time to waste.
It is time for the Prime Minister to stop listening to the discredited voices around her Cabinet table, and start listening to the overwhelming case for Single Market membership – to put country before party, and put living standards ahead of Tory dogma.