Thursday, 25 October 2018 05:51

BARNIER MEETING: JOINT STATEMENT FROM SNP, LIBERAL DEMOCRATS, PLAID CYMRU GREEN PARTY

SNP Westminster Leader Ian Blackford MP, SNP Foreign Affairs spokesperson Stephen Gethins MP and leading figures from opposition parties met Michel Barnier at the European Commission Berlaymont building headquarters in Brussels today.

The SNP, Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru and Greens are working together, alongside rebels from Labour and the Conservatives, against the UK government's damaging Brexit plans. Ian Blackford MP expressed to Mr Barnier the SNP's position for continued membership of the Single Market and Customs Union to protect jobs and livelihoods.

The other attendees were Liberal Democrat Leader Vince Cable, Plaid Cymru Westminster Leader Liz Saville Roberts, and Molly Scott Cato, the Green Party’s SNP for the South West of England and Gibraltar.

In a joint statement, the politicians said:

“In a constructive hour long meeting with Michel Barnier, we emphasised that there is a cross-party resistance in Westminster to the destructive Brexit being pursued by the Tories.

“We also pointed out that this is being waved through by the Labour frontbench, but no majority exists in Parliament for the current Brexit trajectory.

“With sensible politicians from all parties uniting, we pointed out to Mr Barnier that there is a genuine cross-party consensus that our exit from the European Union must not be assumed.

Ian Blackford MP said:

"I am grateful to Mr Barnier for meeting with us today and providing us with the opportunity to set out our position of an alternative to the UK government's damaging Brexit plans.

"The UK government's reckless approach to negotiations threatens livelihoods and ignores the clear wishes of the people of Scotland.

"Scotland voted to remain in the EU and we continue to press the UK Government to stay in the Single Market and Customs Union so we can protect jobs and living standards"

Vince Cable said:

“My message to Michel Barnier was clear: it’s time to start serious contingency planning for a People’s Vote. We know the UK government has started making such plans as a result of the growing demand for such a vote, demonstrated by last weekend’s march.

“The EU should do the same, because MPs who back the People’s Vote are fast forming the biggest and most cohesive bloc in Westminster.

“I also pressed him on ringfencing rights of British citizens in the EU and vice versa in the event of a no deal. It is simply the right thing to do.”

Liz Saville Roberts said:

“I pressed Michel Barnier on protecting Wales’s interest through the extension of Article 50 and a People’s Vote.

“In Westminster, with the Prime Minister’s proposals amounting to nothing more than a mix of fudge and fantasy, a People’s Vote is more likely than ever.

“Corbyn’s Labour are now our biggest barrier to delivering a European future that could work for everyone. The Labour frontbench remain self-righteous and amateur in equal measure, delivering Brexit hand in hand with the Tories.

“As every sensible opposition party unites behind workable solutions, Labour must now reconsider its position.”

Molly Scott Cato said:

"We understand how the European Union has supported the transition to democracy in the countries of Eastern and Southern Europe. But it is disturbing to see how Brexit seems to be undermining democratic standards in the UK, with threats to the independence of the judiciary and civil service, intimidation of MPs, and, apparently, pressure on the Metropolitan Police to soft-pedal the investigation of Vote Leave. "

"As a longstanding friend of Britain, it was interesting to discuss with Mr Barnier whether he consider Brexit to be a laudable exercise in democracy or part of a worrying slide towards fascism in the UK."

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