Mike Russell raises '˜serious concerns' over possibility of no-deal Brexit

The Scottish Government has highlighted 'serious concerns' over the possibility of a no-deal Brexit in a letter to Theresa May's effective deputy.

Scotland’s Constitutional Relations Secretary Mike Russell has claimed such an outcome would be “irresponsible” and would greatly increase the uncertainties over Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU).

In his letter to Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington, Mr Russell warned of “significant negative economic and social consequences” following any no-deal result and stressed that the devolved administrations’ views must inform UK preparations for such an event.

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The letter, sent on Monday, comes ahead of a UK Cabinet meeting on September 13 to look at “no deal” preparations.

Mr Russell warned of significant negative economic and social consequences following any no-deal result

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Mr Russell wrote: “It is vitally important that that type of discussion is informed by the views of the devolved administrations.

“As I set out to the Scottish Parliament in June, the Scottish Government needs to prepare for all exit possibilities.

“However, we have serious concerns that a no deal outcome will magnify massively the uncertainties over Brexit.

“The Scottish Government believes there are major questions over a range of vital matters, including customs arrangements, burdens on business, imports and exports of plasma products, medicines and medical devices, the involvement of UK universities in programmes such as the Erasmus scheme and future funding for UK aid organisations.

“I would be grateful to know what arrangements you will be making to ensure that the devolved administrations are consulted and their views made known in advance of the special Cabinet meeting in order that the discussion reflects the interests of the whole of the UK.”

Mr Russell told how the letter followed a telephone conversation between the two men on planning for a possible no-deal outcome and added: “As you know, the Scottish Government believes that such an outcome would be irresponsible and would have significant negative economic and social consequences for Scotland and indeed for the whole of the UK.”

It comes as new polling suggested Britain’s departure from the European Union could build majority support for Scottish independence.

The research, by Deltapoll for Best for Britain, found 47% said they would support independence, with 43% saying they would opt to stay part of the Union if a referendum on Scotland’s future were held after the UK leaves the EU.