Intervention in talks
No-deal Brexit better than breaking up union, says Mundell
David Mundell; better to have no Brexit deal than break up union (pic: Terry Murden)
Leaving the European Union without a deal would be preferable to breaking up the United Kingdom, Scottish Secretary David Mundell insisted yesterday,
Mr Mundell said he did not favour a no-deal Brexit but he could not accept an arrangement that such as one put forward by the EU on Northern Ireland.
On a visit to the new Google Digital Garage in Edinburgh, Mr Mundell said: “I don’t want to see a no deal, I don’t think a no-deal situation is good for Scotland, good for the United Kingdom.
“But we can’t have a situation where the EU can determine that part of the United Kingdom can be dealt with differently than other parts and one of their offers does do that in relation to Northern Ireland.
“We know the integrity of the UK is very, very important and important to the people here in Scotland so I can’t accept an arrangement that threatens the integrity of the United Kingdom.”
The EU and UK agreed in December that there would be ‘full alignment’ in regulations affecting cross-border trade to prevent the need for checks along the Irish border.
However, the EU has insisted this can only apply to Northern Ireland, stoking demands from the Scottish Government for special status inside the EU single market.
Mr Mundell’s comments come amid a hectic series of meetings by Prime Minister Theresa May’s ministers with EU leaders as she tries to build support for her Brexit strategy.
Mrs May is expected to hold talks with the Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and other EU leaders in Salzburg on Friday. Cabinet Office minister David Lidington will travel to Paris while Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab will be in Brussels for talks on Thursday.
Court rules on Holyrood bill
A legal challenge begins in the Supreme Court in London against the Scottish Parliament’s Brexit bill, the first such challenge by Westminster over devolved legislation.
MSPs passed the Continuity bill, an alternative to Westminster’s EU Withdrawal Bill, in March amid a long-running row over post-Brexit powers and devolution.
Holyrood’s presiding officer had raised questions over whether the legislation was within the parliament’s remit, and UK law officers challenged it in court.
The Welsh and Northern Irish assemblies will also be represented in the two-day hearing, having made submissions backing the Scottish government’s stance.
A judgement is not expected until later in the year.