An alternative Brexit deal to Theresa May’s draft EU withdrawal agreement is still a “very realistic” outcome, Scotland’s Constitutional Relations Secretary has insisted.
Mike Russell said procedures could be followed, starting with MPs in the Commons voting down the existing proposal, which could then result in a new deal being drawn up. But he stressed for this to happen it was “absolutely essential” opposition parties at Westminster work together.
Efforts here have already started, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon spending Tuesday in London, meeting Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Vince Cable of the Liberal Democrats.
With doubts continuing over whether Mrs May can get her draft agreement through the House of Commons, Mr Russell argued MPs should not vote for the deal simply because they want the Brexit “ordeal to be over”.
He said: “The priority is to vote down this deal, not to allow the damage to take place.”
Mr Russell was questioned on the draft withdrawal deal by members of the Scottish Parliament’s Constitution Committee. The cabinet secretary apologised after a “joke misfired” during the session when he likened Tory Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg to an alien invader.
On the question of the draft arrangements, which have been drawn up by the Prime Minister, Mr Russell said these would “prolong uncertainty” for the UK. Mr Russell said it was “very realistic indeed” that a new deal could emerge.