Scotland politics

Mundell calls for end to Brexit 'scaremongering'

David Mundell Image copyright PA
Image caption The Scottish Secretary has made a speech in Glasgow

The Scottish secretary has argued that leaving the European Union would present opportunities for Scotland and the rest of the UK.

David Mundell warned the Scottish government to avoid what he calls "alarmist" warnings over the impact of Brexit.

The Scottish government has claimed that leaving the EU could cost the Scottish economy billions.

This week Nicola Sturgeon said the UK could be facing a "lost decade".

David Mundell described the first minister's claims as scaremongering but also admitted that Brexit would not be simple.

Speaking on BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme, Mr Mundell said the UK parliament would be consulted on any final deal Prime Minister Theresa May strikes to take Britain out of Europe, but he also suggested MPs can not veto it.

'Debate and scrutiny'

He said: "Article 50 is about beginning the negotiation for Britain to leave the EU and the mandate for Britain to leave the EU came from the people in June.

"Of course parliament in both London and Edinburgh will be involved in the discussion but I don't think anyone reasonably would suggest the parliaments will conduct the negotiations. It's for the government to conduct the negotiation.

"What is discussed and consulted on will be the subject of a huge amount of debate and scrutiny."

Image copyright Scottish Parliament
Image caption Nicola Sturgeon said the UK could be facing a "lost decade" after Brexit

When asked if parliament could accept or reject any deal that is eventually made, Mr Mundell said: "It's quite clear that what isn't going to be the case, is that there isn't going to be some opening up of whether the UK leaves the EU and there would be some second referendum on whether the deal was satisfactory or not.

"I think it is quiet clear that parliament both in Scotland and in London will want to debate the nature of the deal, but it doesn't have a veto on the deal.

"The parliament of the United Kingdom will be fully consulted on the deal and there will be a number of mechanisms which will follow on from that process including legislation that will clearly have to go through parliament and that legislation will have to be agreed by parliament."

Lost decade

In a speech in Glasgow, Mr Mundell addressed the first minister's comments: "Doom-mongering warnings of a 'lost decade' and 'deep and severe' damage are becoming increasingly alarmist.

"Objective observers might wonder if the aim is to provide bracingly frank analysis or to try and talk up the challenges of Brexit in the hope of making Scottish independence seem less of a risk.

"There is no certainty that countries with their own independence movements to consider, like Spain or Romania, would look favourably on an application from an independent Scotland.

"But even assuming hypothetically that accession were a viable option, an independent Scotland's membership as a new joiner would not be an attractive prospect."

'Stronger than ever'

Scotland would need to join the euro, pay more towards the EU budget and open its borders to EU migration, potentially threatening free travel within the UK, he warned.

"From being a strong voice within the third largest member state, Scotland would instead be one of the EU's smallest members," he said.

Mr Mundell said the arguments for Scotland remaining in the United Kingdom were stronger than ever, nearly two years to the day since the referendum in 2014.

Responding to David Mundell's comments, the SNP's Michael Russell said: "David Mundell represents a Tory government which the people of Scotland overwhelmingly did not vote for, trying to sell them an EU referendum result that they overwhelmingly did not vote for, and these comments would be laughable were they not so ridiculous.

"Just a few months ago Mr Mundell, Ruth Davidson and many other Tories warned us of the disastrous consequences of leaving the EU, yet now they try and pretend that the UK offers some sort of stability or certainty for Scotland.

"The fact is, every poll conducted since the EU referendum has shown support for independence at a higher level than in September 2014, the case for the union is weaker than ever."

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