Thursday, 27 October 2016 12:46

HOKEY COKEY MUNDELL rows back on single market at Hollyrood

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Scottish Secretary David Mundell rowed back on his support for single market membership when appearing at Holyrood’s Europe Committee – the latest signal that the UK Government is doggedly pursuing a hard Brexit.
Mr Mundell was asked by Committee Convener Joan McAlpine whether he still agreed with his statement of July 13th that the best deal for Scotland meant remaining in the single market.

The Scottish Secretary said that “it is not appropriate to look at existing structures” as the UK Government intends to achieve a “bespoke deal”.
When asked by SNP MSP Richard Lochhead whether he agreed that there was a distinctive case for Scottish access to the single market, Mr Mundell implied that Scotland should not have an opt-out from the UK’s hard Brexit – insisting that “Scotland has two governments” and that “Scotland gets the best deal when those two governments work together in a team UK approach”.
Commenting, Mr Lochhead said:
“David Mundell squirmed his way through his appearance at Holyrood, using weasel words to hide the fact that he appears to be rowing back on his support for Scotland’s place in the single market – while it is increasingly obvious that he is being frozen out of discussions by his Cabinet colleagues.
“This is the latest example of the Scottish Tories abandoning their principles because Theresa May – who previously warned of the dangers of leaving the single market herself – has ordered the party to get behind a hard-right Tory Brexit.
“The Tories are in complete denial – there is no ‘bespoke deal’ that allows Theresa May all of the advantages of EU membership while simultaneously burning our bridges with the continent. The sooner the UK Government realise this and listen to the sensible suggestions put forward by the First Minister the better.”
Joan McAlpine: “On the 13th of July you said that you wanted to ensure that Scotland got the best deal, and to quote you, you said ‘clearly that involves being part of the single market’. Is that still your view?”
David Mundell: “My view is that we want to maximise our involvement in the single market, that is the objective that the government wants to achieve. But what I’ve also said, what the Prime Minister’s said, is that it is not appropriate to look at existing structures because, going forward, what the UK is looking to achieve is a bespoke deal.”
Richard Lochhead: “In Scotland our position is different. We have a government of our own with a policy position, we have a parliament and we have 62% of the population who voted to remain within the European Union. And you are after all Scotland’s voice in the UK Cabinet, and therefore I assume it’s Scotland’s priorities at the foremost of your mind. Do you therefore agree that Scotland does have a distinctive case and a voice to be heard in these negotiations, especially in relation to access and membership of the single market?”
David Mundell: “Scotland has two governments. It has a government here, a devolved government, and it is part of the United Kingdom and it is represented by the United Kingdom government. Scotland gets the best deal when those two governments work together in a team UK approach. That’s what I am committed to achieving."