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MPs clash

Jack says SNP will pay price for opposing Brexit deal

Alister Jack

Alister Jack: ‘deal delivers for all’

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack has urged Scotland’s MPs to get behind the Brexit deal, insisting it will deliver for all parts of the UK.

Mr Jack disputed claims being made by the SNP that it will be damaging for Scotland’s economy.

“For our fishermen and coastal communities, the deal delivers what we promised,” he said.

“We are regaining control of our waters, we are restoring our status as an independent coastal state and, even during the five-year adjustment period, there will be a big overall increase in our share of the catch in our waters.

“As we leave the Common Fisheries Policy, our fishermen will also enjoy near-exclusive access to inshore waters up to the historic 12-mile limit.”

He declared: “The deal is good news for Scotland and I believe it is now time to move on from the Brexit debate and join forces in embracing our exciting future.

Ian Blackford Commons

Ian Blackford: ‘disaster’

“Whether Leaver or Remainer in 2016 we need to come to together to make the most of our new opportunities.

“The people of Scotland will expect their MPs to do the right thing on Wednesday and vote for the deal.

“They will not easily forgive those who reject this Free Trade Agreement or throw their weight behind a no-deal Brexit.”

His call came as SNP MPs said they intend to vote against the Brexit deal when it comes before the Commons on Wednesday, insisting that it is a “disaster for Scotland”.

Despite the UK government avoiding a No Deal departure from the EU, the nationalists continue to claim the agreement represents a “hard Brexit”.

Westminster leader Ian Blackford said it was an “unforgivable act of economic vandalism and gross stupidity” that was being imposed against Scotland’s will and would cause lasting damage to jobs, incomes, businesses and the economy – costing Scotland billions.

SNP leader and Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has already accused the Conservatives of selling out Scottish fishing communities even though it promises to cut the volume of fish that EU boats can catch in British waters.

The Liberal Democrats have also said they will vote against the deal, though most Labour MPs will vote in favour, ensuring Prime Minister Boris Johnson can get it through parliament.

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The deal will come into force as the transition period comes to an end on 31 December.

The Scottish Government claims the Brexit deal could cost Scotland’s economy more than £9 billion by 2030 with the forecast 6.1% drop in GDP the equivalent to losing the equivalent of £1,600 per person.

However, the Centre for Economics and Business Research claims the UK will see substantial growth and will hugely outperform neighbouring economies such as France.

PwC says the UK’s long-term economic growth could outpace leading EU countries like Germany, France and Italy, even despite some medium-term drag from Brexit.

Another think tank, the Institute for Public Policy Research says commitments on workers’ rights and environmental standards to maintain fair competition between UK and EU businesses were considerably weaker than expected and would make it hard to prevent standards diverging over time.

Even so, the IPPR’s analysis has highlighted three important benefits from the deal, which it argues makes the agreement preferable to a no-deal outcome.

These are tariff-free and quota-free trade in goods, continued social security coordination between the UK and the EU, including healthcare coverage, and continued data sharing for security purposes.

In an interview today Chancellor Rishi Sunak said Brexit offers Britain a chance to do things differently in financial services which were not included in Thursday’s trade deal.

However, a trade deal gives reassurance that there will be co-operation on the regulatory approach to sector, he said.

Mr Johnson has hinted at a potential overhaul of the tax and regulatory system for businesses. He said the Chancellor was now conducting a “big exercise on all of this,” suggesting changes could come as early as the Budget in March.

Britain to sign deal with Turkey

Britain and Turkey are set to sign a free trade deal on Tuesday, the first since Mr Johnson secured a trade agreement with the European Union.

The two nations will sign a deal that replicates the existing trading terms between Ankara and London, although International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said a bespoke deal is the longer term aim.

In a statement she said: “The deal we expect to sign this week locks in tariff-free trading arrangements and will help support our trading relationship. It will provide certainty for thousands of jobs across the UK in the manufacturing, automotive and steel industries..

“We now look forward to working with Turkey towards an ambitious tailor-made UK-Turkey trade agreement in the near future.”

Comment: Something fishy about the SNP’s stance on Europe



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