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68 sign letter on EU withdrawal

Westminster urged to re-think Brexit plan

Ian Ritchie Iomart
Ian Ritchie
Struan Stevenson

A number of individuals from Scottish politics, academia and business have come together to call for Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union to be halted.

In an open letter, more than 60 have expressed their “deep concern” at the damage Brexit is causing to the economy and society.

They say they “recognise that a narrow majority voted to leave the European Union, but the disastrous consequences are now becoming ever clearer.”

Those signing include former EU ambassador Lord Kerr, ex-Nato general secretary and Scottish Secretary Baron Robertson of Port Ellen and the former LibDem leader Lord Campbell of Pittenweem.

Also signing are Grahame Smith, General Secretary of the STUC, the historians Prof Tom Devine and Prof Chris Smout, former Scotland First Minister Henry McLeish, the businessman Ian Ritchie and former Conservative MEP Struan Stevenson.

The signatories urge a re-think and for the UK to build a “fairer, more equal country” as part of a wider push, from inside the EU, for a fairer, more equal Europe. 

A petition is also launched today to encourage people to sign-up across the UK to halt Brexit.

The full text of the letter and list of signatories:

“We come from a broad range of sectors across our society – business, education, law, politics, public services, unions, NGOs and more.

We see our society, economy and politics becoming ever more undermined due to the impact of Brexit. We recognise that a narrow majority voted to leave the European Union, but the disastrous consequences are now becoming ever clearer – every day.

Even before the UK has left the EU, we face falling living standards, rising inflation, slowing growth and lower productivity. 

Our international reputation has been seriously damaged, leaving the UK weak, with diminished influence, in an increasingly uncertain and unstable world.

EU citizens who have made a huge social and economic contribution to our society have been left in profound uncertainty – many have already left, many more are considering leaving. UK citizens elsewhere in the EU are in an unacceptable limbo too.

In a democracy, it is always possible to think again and to choose a different direction. We need to think again about Brexit, to have a UK-wide debate about calling a halt to the process and changing our minds.

The UK has been a major and influential actor in Europe and can be again. We need to have a debate about how to build a better, fairer, more equal society. Then we will be in a position to contribute to an EU-wide debate on creating a fairer, more equal Europe.

We call for a national debate on Brexit. We ask our fellow citizens, and our politicians, to think again. It is time to call a halt to Brexit.” 


Prof. David Bell, Stirling Management School, University of Stirling

Andrew Bolger, former Scotland Correspondent, Financial Times,

Prof. Christina Boswell, School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh

Professor Sir Harry Burns, Professor of Global Public Health, University of Strathclyde

The Rt. Hon Lord Campbell of Pittenweem CH CBE PC QC

Dr Chad Damro, University of Edinburgh

Professor Emeritus Sir Tom Devine, University of Edinburgh

Christine De Luca, poet

Dr Richard Dixon, Director, Friends of the Earth Scotland

Sir David Edward, Professor Emeritus Edinburgh University Law School and former ECJ Judge

John Edward, Former Head of European Parliament Office in Scotland/Former EU Policy Manager, Scotland Europa

Colin Imrie, European policy analyst

Maria Fletcher Director, Director of Scottish Universities Legal Network on Europe (SULNE)

Lord Foulkes of Cumnock

Dr Peter Geoghegan, University of the West of Scotland,

Gwilym Gibbons,  Creative Help Ltd            

Prof. Anne Glover, Vice Principal for External Affairs and Dean for Europe, University of Aberdeen

Vanessa Glynn, Chair, European Movement in Scotland

Michele Gordon, Director, The Language Hub

David Gow, Editor, Sceptical Scot, Editor, Social Europe

Dr Eve Hepburn, Chief Executive, Fearless Femme CIC

David Hood, Director, Edinburgh Institute for Collaborative & Competitive Advantage

Dr Kirsty Hughes, Director, Scottish Centre on European Relations

Helen Hunter,  Education Officer (retired)

Helen Kay M.A., M.Sc.

Stefan G Kay OBE                           

Patricia Kelly,  Retired Teacher

Lord Kerr of Kinlochard GCMG

Mark Lazarowicz, former Labour MP 2001 – 2015, Edinburgh North

Graham Leicester, International Futures Forum (in a personal capacity)

Baroness Liddell of Coatdyke, former Secretary of State Scotland and former High Commissioner to Australia.

Dr John MacDonald,  Director of the Scottish Global Forum and editor of CABLE magazine

Gordon Macintyre-Kemp,  Author and Chief Executive, Business for Scotland

Dame Mariot Leslie

David Martin, MEP

Monica Martins, Managing Director, WomenBeing Project

Marilyne MacLaren, retired politician and educationalist

Rt. Hon. Henry McLeish, former First Minister

Maggie Mellon, former executive board, Women for Independence and social work consultant

Professor Steve Murdoch, University of St Andrews  

Isobel Murray, Professor Emeritus Modern Scottish Literature, Aberdeen University

Dr Kath Murray, Criminal Justice Researcher

Andrew Ormston, Director of Drew Wylie Projects

Alex Orr, Managing Director, Orbit Communications (in a personal capacity)

Robert Palmer,

Ray Perman, author and journalist

Willis Pickard, former editor TES Scotland and Rector, Aberdeen University,

Dr Janet Powney, consultant in education and evaluation research

Lesley Riddoch

Ian Ritchie, software entrepreneur

Baron Robertson of Port Ellen, KT, former Secretary of State for Defence, former Secretary General, NATO

Bill Rodger, Treasurer, European Movement in Scotland

Anthony Salamone, Research Fellow and Strategic Adviser, Scottish Centre on European Relations           

Prof. Andrew Scott, University of Edinburgh

Anne Scott, Secretary, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Scottish Branch

Peter K. Sellar Advocate, Axiom Advocates Faculty of Advocates, Edinburgh,

Prof. Jo Shaw, University of Edinburgh

Dr Kirsteen Shields, Lecturer in Public Law, University of Dundee

Martin Sime, Chief Executive, SCVO

Alyn Smith, MEP

Grahame Smith, General Secretary STUC

Professor Michael E. Smith, Professor of International Relations, University of Aberdeen 

Prof. Chris Smout, Historiographer Royal of Scotland and Emeritus Professor, University of St Andrews

Struan Stevenson, former MEP and European Movement in Scotland Vice-President

Lord (Jim) Wallace of Tankerness Lib Dem Peer & former Deputy First Minister

Sir Graham Watson, former President of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party (ALDE Party), former MEP

Dr Geoffrey Whittam, Reader, Glasgow Caledonian University

Fay Young, Director of a digital media company

> Comment: Is a rethink a realistic option

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