N. Ireland Politics

Brexit: SNP says NI plan must also benefit Scotland

Gavin Newlands Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Gavin Newlands is the Northern Ireland spokesperson for the SNP

The Scottish National Party has said it "fully supports" special arrangements for Northern Ireland in any Brexit deal - but only if Scotland can benefit too.

Gavin Newlands, the party's Northern Ireland spokesperson, said any unique plans for NI should not be at Scotland's expense.

A majority in NI and Scotland voted remain in the 2016 EU referendum.

MPs are due to debate key legislation to implement Boris Johnson's Brexit deal later on Tuesday.

Due to the Irish border issue, the prime minister's revised deal would see Northern Ireland only staying aligned to some EU customs rules.

The SNP has vowed to vote down the government's deal because it said it could not support a plan that did not allow Scotland to maintain a close relationship with the EU.

Mr Newlands told BBC News NI: "We fully support special arrangements for Northern Ireland to ensure those agreements are followed, but if it's possible for NI it should be possible for Scotland.

"Then both countries, who voted remain, will get something out of Brexit."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A majority in NI and Scotland voted remain in the 2016 EU referendum

The SNP has argued in favour of a three-month extension to Brexit to allow time to hold a general election.

Its MPs also voted with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and other opposition parties at Westminster for the so-called Letwin amendment, which forced the government to ask for another Brexit delay.

Both parties are now considering their next steps, before MPs get to vote on the government's Withdrawal Agreement Bill - crucial legislation that must be passed in order to implement EU laws into domestic UK law.

Mr Newlands said despite reports the DUP was considering talking to Scottish MPs, he was not personally aware of the DUP reaching out to the SNP and that it seemed "highly unlikely" the parties would find common ground.

However, he added both parties were "vehemently opposed" to the Brexit deal, despite seeking different outcomes to the deadlock.

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