Church of Scotland warns Boris Johnson over impact of no deal Brexit

The Church of Scotland has warned Boris Johnson that a no deal Brexit would be "unacceptable" as it would impact hardest on society's most vulnerable.

The Rev Dr Richard Frazer warned a no deal Brexit would impact most on society's most vulnerable

In a strongly-worded letter sent on the day Mr Johnson is due to formally replace Theresa May as prime minister, the Kirk said failing to reach agreement on an orderly Brexit would “hit those held back by poverty very hard indeed”.

The Rev. Dr Richard Frazer, convener of the Church and Society Council, signed an open letter to the new Tory leader along with the leaders of seven other Christian denominations.

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They said they have been “compelled” to write to Mr Johnson because the impact of a no deal Brexit is at best highly uncertain and at worst deeply worrying.

The new Tory leader has repeatedly refused to rule out a no deal Brexit. Yesterday he defeated Jeremy Hunt by a two-to-one margin, securing 92,153 votes to Mr Hunt’s 46,656. He used his victory speech to promise he will “energise the country” and meet the 31 October Brexit deadline with a “new spirit of can-do”.

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“As a society we must work to create an environment in which the poorest and most marginalised among us are able to thrive and flourish.

“But for too many people this is not the case and, as our letter highlights, the evidence suggests that leaving the EU without a deal will make things significantly worse.

“If we wish to avoid damage to our shared well-being, if we want to protect peace in Northern Ireland, if we wish to safeguard the rights of EU citizens resident within the UK, and if we wish to maintain a positive relationship with our closest neighbours, on whom we depend for so much of our common good, then we cannot countenance leaving the European Union without a deal in place.

“Indeed, we do not believe that a decision which increases the suffering of those who already suffer, which imperils peace, and which makes those who have made the UK their home feel unwelcome, can ever sit comfortably with a God who welcomes the stranger, who is the Prince of Peace, and who has a priority for the poorest and most marginalised.”

Around a third of Scots identify as being members of the Church of Scotland, according to the 2011 Census.

The Rev. Frazer has previously used his position to urge action on poverty, challenging then chancellor Philip Hammond ahead of the 2017 Autumn Statement to halt the roll-out of Universal Credit.