MSPs blast Westminster's '˜insulting' offer to see Brexit analyis

MSPs have accused the UK Government of treating the Scottish Parliament with 'contempt' over arrangements to view Brexit analysis.

The UK's Department for Exiting the EU have been criticised for arrangements made to allow MSPs to read Brexit analyis papers. Picture: Free Image/Pixabay

Leaks from the Department for Exiting the EU (DExEu) papers indicate Scottish economic growth would be cut under all three scenarios modelled.

Now, MSPs have criticised arrangements for them to view the papers after Brexit Minister Robin Walker wrote to Holyrood’s Presiding Officer to confirm a confidential reading room would be set up at the Scotland Office in Edinburgh.

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Holyrood members will only be able to read the documents from 10am-1pm and 2pm-5pm on Thursday and Friday. Joan McAlpine, convener of Holyrood’s Europe Committee, tweeted that she was “incredulous and angry” that viewings were only available when the Scottish Parliament was sitting, or when MSPs are usually in their constituencies.

She said the move continues the “total contempt for the Scottish Parliament by DExEU and Brexit Secretary David Davis”. Fellow committee member Ross Greer said the arrangements were “beyond insulting”. Labour’s Brexit spokesman Neil Findlay said the arrangements were “an absolute nonsense”.

Leaks from the documents indicate leaving the EU without a trade deal would cut Scottish economic growth by 9%.

The UK's Department for Exiting the EU have been criticised for arrangements made to allow MSPs to read Brexit analyis papers. Picture: Free Image/Pixabay

At a meeting in Downing Street, Theresa May told Japanese business executives that Brexit is “no small undertaking” but will allow a free trade deal with Japan.

The heads of businesses including household names such as Mitsubishi, Honda, Nissan and Panasonic - which employ thousands of workers across the country - met at Number 10 amid concern over estimates of the impact of Brexit on economic growth.

Speaking after the hour-and-a-half meeting, Japan’s ambassador to the UK Koji Tsuruoka said manufacturing firms in particular “expected” free access to the European market to continue.

But Mr Tsuruoka warned: “If there is no profitability of continuing operations in the UK - not Japanese only - then no private company can continue operations. It is as simple as that. This is all high stakes that I think all of us need to keep in mind.”

The UK's Department for Exiting the EU have been criticised for arrangements made to allow MSPs to read Brexit analyis papers. Picture: Free Image/Pixabay

Brexit Secretary David Davis criticised the EU for publishing plans that would allow it to sanction the UK during a transition period.

Turning up the heat as a week of negotiations on the transition come to a close in Brussels, Mr Davis said he regarded the documents as “political”, published in bad faith, and “unwise”.

Position papers show the EU wants to have the power to rapidly curtail the UK’s single market benefits and force adherence to European rules if the transition agreement is breached.

In Dublin, the Irish government said it would not accept any “backsliding” on the deal struck over the Northern Irish border, and called on Mrs May to abandon her red lines on the customs union and single market.

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney said it was difficult to see how the UK will avoid the fall-back position of ‘full alignment’ with EU regulations to keep the border open.

Mr Coveney said there was no uncertainty over what had been agreed on the border. “We intend on ensuring that that commitment is maintained,” he said.