Scotland politics

Brexit: MSPs vote to reject draft deal in Holyrood

MSPs clapping
Image caption MSPs from four parties united to pass a motion rejecting the draft Brexit deal

The Scottish Parliament has voted by 92 to 29 to formally reject the UK government's draft Brexit deal.

SNP, Labour, Green and Lib Dem members at Holyrood backed a motion rejecting the proposals, as well as the prospect of leaving without any deal.

However, the parties have not come to a consensus on an alternative plan.

The vote was held as MPs at Westminster continued to debate whether to accept the withdrawal plan agreed between UK and EU negotiators.

Prime Minister Theresa May is facing a struggle to get the agreement through the Commons, with opposition being voiced across the political spectrum ahead of a "meaningful vote" on Tuesday of next week.

A majority of MPs must back the proposals if they are to come into force - but the result of Wednesday's vote at Holyrood vote will not be legally binding on anyone.

The SNP, Labour, Greens and Lib Dems came together to pen an agreed motion ahead of the Holyrood debate, saying in a joint statement that it would demonstrate that the "overwhelming view" of MSPs was against the deal.

The motion stated that both Mrs May's plan and a no-deal Brexit would be "damaging for Scotland and the nations and regions of the UK as a whole".

It concluded that the parliament should "recommend that they be rejected and that a better alternative be taken forward".

However, each of the parties argued for their own preferred alternative plan - while the Scottish Conservatives voted against the motion, arguing that it was "needless".

Image caption Mike Russell said the prime minister's deal was more about saving her job than the national interest

The Scottish government's Brexit secretary Mike Russell said the draft deal was more about saving Mrs May's job than the good of the country, saying that "Scotland needs and deserves better than the prime minister's blindfold Brexit".

The MSP said it was a "fact" that "the choice is not between May's deal and no deal", adding that "reasonable people are now moving to make sure that a better way is found".

He said that the government "regards membership of the EU as the best outcome of the current chaos, and believes that aim is still achievable".

He also said the SNP would support having a new referendum, a general election, or continued membership of the single market and customs union.

'More grievance'

Scottish Conservative constitution spokesman Adam Tomkins said the prime minister's plan was the "only credible proposal" which anyone had come up with since the Brexit vote.

He said the country faced a "clear binary choice" between the negotiated deal or "crashing out of the EU on a no deal basis, which would be a disaster for the economy".

The MSP said the SNP and the Greens were using the debate to "manufacture yet more grievance as part of their push for a second independence referendum", and said Labour and the Lib Dems had been "hoodwinked" into supporting this.

Image caption Adam Tomkins said there was a "clear binary choice" between Mrs May's deal and no deal at all

Labour's Neil Findlay said his party would not support the prime minister's "doomed" deal, which he said had "united leavers and remainers" alike.

He called for a general election, which he said would usher in a government led by Jeremy Corbyn.

Green MSP Ross Greer said Brexit had become a "profound national crisis", saying Mrs May's blueprint was "bad deal for every part of the UK" which was "dead on arrival".

And Lib Dem member Tavish Scott said it was "ludicrous" of the Scottish Conservatives to defend the deal, as it would ultimately be voted down by Conservative MPs.

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