According to reports in The Guardian Northern Ireland may well stay within the Customs Union and Single Market, even after the end of the 21 Month “transition period” that follows the UK’s departure from the European Union next March, in order to prevent the need for a hard border between the North and the Irish Republic.
Sources in Brussels claim that this will be part of the conditions set out in the draft separation agreement between the UK and the EU which is due to be published in the next couple of weeks. The deal, which the UK government is expected to sign off on, will see Northern Ireland remain subject to EU Law wherever it is relevant to the north-south economy, and the requirements of the Good Friday agreement. Read more
Following our earlier article about the UK government’s Brexit impact analysis report, details have emerged of the arrangements put in place for Scotland’s MSPs to view the report.
Joan McAlpine, the SNP MSP for South Scotland has tweeted a copy of a letter sent by Robin Walker of the Department for Exiting the European Union to MSPs. In the tweet she describes herself as “Incredulous and angry” at the content of the letter and remarks on the “total contempt” shown to the Scottish Parliament by the department and by David Davis.
An interesting tweet yesterday from the Tory MP for Stirling, complete with dubiously edited video, claiming he got no answers to a question about what the Scottish government is doing with its benefit powers.
Let’s just take a peek at what the official record has about this exchange: Read more
Lothian’s Tory MSP, Jeremy Balfour, has come under attack for proposing an amendment to the Social Security (Scotland) Bill that would require terminally ill Scots who hadn’t died within three years to have their benefits claim reassessed.
Balfour appears to have made an embarrassing u-turn and withdrawn the amendment which read “At the end of a period of three years beginning with the day on which the individual applied for such assistance, the individual is still living, the Scottish Ministers must review the individual’s entitlement to assistance.”
The amendment came to light on the Scottish Parliament website ahead of today’s social security committee’s stage 2 hearing of evidence on the Social Security Bill. Read more
The UK Government faces more Brexit embarrassment after a leaked report showed that Scottish economic growth could be slowed by as much as 9% should no trade deal be in place when we leave the EU.
The report, titled “EU Exit Analysis – Cross Whitehall Briefing” was prepared in January and leaked to Buzzfeed last week, sets out the forecast for the impact to economic growth over the next 15 years for each area of the UK given three different Brexit scenarios.
The leak comes after publication of the SNP’s own impact study which was much derided by the Conservatives as “completely over-the-top scaremongering”. Scottish Tory constitutional spokesman, Adam Tomkins, saying the SNP had proved with their 2014 white paper on independence that “their financial forecasts simply cannot be trusted”. Read more