Theresa May’s Chequers fudge sees Scotland dragged to brink of Brexit abyss

Theresa May’s Cabinet Chequers lockdown was more fudge than a step forward. With their phones confiscated and threat of a taxi back home instead of a ministerial car, the day resembled a scene out of The Thick of It.

In truth, it was far more worrying.

The Tory Government did not reach a monumental breakthrough in their negotiations with the European Union. Instead they were forced to agree on some sort of position for the first time.

Two years on from the EU referendum, we find ourselves in the situation where the Tory Party are still negotiating with themselves, rather than the EU.

The deal reached was immediately undermined when the Cabinet agreed to step up preparations for a disastrous no-deal Brexit – an isolated and insular outcome. There is also the reality that the deal is likely to be insufficient for the EU when the details are released in the overdue Brexit white paper.

As Scotland is dragged to the brink of the Brexit abyss, the Tories are immobilised by incompetence.

With Labour – the so-called official opposition – occupying the benches in name only and Scottish Tory MPs happily following their Westminster bosses’ wishes to walk over Scotland, it is the SNP standing up for Scotland.

In 2016, the SNP Scottish Government published their compromise position which, short of remaining in the EU, looks to protect Scotland and the UK’s economy, jobs, and the living standards of millions of families, by keeping the UK in the single market and customs union.

Last week, the Scottish Government brought forward yet another detailed plan over their preferred position. It has been shared with Theresa May and it is about time we saw some of its common sense adopted by the Tory Government.

But it’s not the only analysis or concern raised with May which has been ignored.

The Tory Government’s own economic analysis warns of the risks of leaving the single market and customs union, and the Fraser of Allander Institute revealed a no-deal scenario threatens up to 80,000 jobs in Scotland.

The Prime Minister has dismissed the concerns raised by NHS England, who say they are securing vital medicine and equipment due to the threat of a no-deal Brexit. And, she has ignored some of the biggest businesses and job creators like Airbus, BMW and Jaguar Land Rover, who are questioning future UK operations as a result of the her government’s refusal to reject a no-deal outcome.

Throughout, the Tory Government have side-lined the devolved administrations and are pushing ahead with their dangerous power grab of legislation from Holyrood to Westminster.

It’s time May put the interests of the country ahead of the ideological hard Brexit ideology of the Conservative Party. They aren’t just a Tory Government in disarray, they are a Government who are a danger to Scotland’s future.

This column previously appeared in the Daily Record.