Scotland can’t be in the passenger seat if UK is driven off Brexit cliff edge

As MPs prepare to vote on Theresa May’s failed Brexit deal this week, the outcome of the days ahead will be crucial for Scotland’s future.

Yesterday, the Scottish Government wrote to all MPs at Westminster urging them to reject the damaging deal being proposed by the Tory government and rule out a catastrophic no deal Brexit.

We cannot allow the UK Government to take us off the Brexit cliff edge, which would destroy Scottish jobs, squeeze living standards, and inflict lasting harm on our economy and public services.

We know from the UK Government’s own analysis that there is no such thing as a good Brexit.

Taking Scotland out of the EU, and terminating our membership of the world’s largest single market and customs union, would leave the country poorer for many decades to come.

The impact on our economy would be devastating – reducing Scottish GDP by up to nine per cent, putting 80,000 jobs at risk, and costing us more than £12.7billion a year – a loss equivalent to £2300 for every person in the country.

The reality of a Tory Brexit – whether it’s leaving the EU with May’s deal or no deal at all – would mean higher prices and squeezed wages for us all, more local businesses going under, more people being made redundant, and less money available to fund our NHS and public services.

It would also mean fewer opportunities for future generations. Ending freedom of movement would stop young people having the right to live, work and study freely across 27 EU countries.

It would inflict serious damage on the ability of our NHS, universities, agricultural sector and businesses to recruit the workers they need – harming the quality of healthcare and education and increasing the cost of our weekly shop.

This week, May and Jeremy Corbyn must finally face up to the catastrophic dangers of the Brexit impasse they have pushed the country towards.

The UK Government have failed to get a good deal and, instead of ploughing ahead down this reckless Brexit path, Parliament must take back control and find a better way forward.

Having wasted so much time, and having brought the country to the brink of chaos and crisis, the UK Government must now agree to the SNP’s plea to halt or revoke Article 50 to give us more time beyond the March 29 deadline.

This would allow time for a second EU referendum, with the opportunity for Scotland and the UK to remain in the EU – the best deal possible. As the damage of Brexit becomes clearer, and with the UK Government having failed to do their job, the decision should go back to the people.

Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU – and we have other options should the Westminster parties fail to secure a way out of this Tory Brexit mess. We can take our future into our own hands with independence.

As we enter this defining week, let me be clear – the SNP will not sit idly by and allow Westminster to threaten Scotland’s economy, jobs and livelihoods. We will not allow Scotland’s voice to be silenced or our interests to be sidelined.

If the Tory Government really are intent on driving the UK off the Brexit cliff-edge, then Scotland cannot be in the passenger seat.

This article originally appeared in the Daily Record.