Scotland in Europe Update: 14th December 2018

What a week! It is almost impossible to know where to start. The good news is that there is a clear path to stopping Brexit. On Monday morning (which feels a very long time ago) the European Court of Justice ruled in "the Scottish Case" confirming categorically that the UK can unilaterally revoke Article 50.

This Judgment is definitive and cannot be appealed. It follows the Opinion of the Advocate General published last week that Article 50 allows for the unilateral revocation of the notification of the intention to withdraw from the EU. The case brought a cross party group of Scottish Parliamentarians (including me) has confirmed, once and for all from the highest court in the business, that the UK can indeed change its mind on Brexit. A bright light has switched on above an 'EXIT' sign. You can read the press release from the court here:
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SNP welcomes ECJ Judgment: UK can revoke Article 50

Joanna Cherry QC MP and Alyn Smith MEP have hailed the Judgment issued today (Monday) by the European Court of Justice in "the Scottish Case" confirming categorically that the UK can unilaterally revoke Article 50.

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EU to limit dangerous fats in food - what will UK do?

SNP Member of the European Parliament Mr Alyn Smith has hailed a decision today in Brussels confirming plans to limit trans fats content to below 2% in foods across the EU. Industry will have until April 2021 to adapt.

The news has been a long time coming. Alyn has been campaigning for a ban, or at least a tight limit, on trans fats since 2011.
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Scotland in Europe Update: 7th December 2018

It has been a big week and events are moving fast. The biggest news is that Advocate General Campos Sánchez-Bordona has proposed that the Court of Justice should:

“…in its future judgment declare that Article 50 TEU allows the unilateral revocation of the notification of the intention to withdraw from the EU, until such time as the withdrawal agreement is formally concluded, provided that the revocation has been decided upon in accordance with the Member State's constitutional requirement, is formally notified to the European Council and does not involve an abusive practice."

In simple terms, if the UK wants to, we can stop Brexit and everything would return to how it was before we triggered Article 50. You can read an explanation of the opinion here: curia.europa.eu/... and the full ruling here: curia.europa.eu/...

This is a huge win for Scotland, the UK, me and my co-plaintiffs, and it is a huge step forward from the highest court in the business. Admittedly this is not the end since the Court follows a two-stage process to present its findings. Firstly, we get the opinion of the Advocate General, and secondly, the final decision of the Court. 80% of the time the Court will agree with the Advocate General so this opinion matters.

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We can stop the Brexit Clock: Comment on European Court of Justice Advocate General opinion in Article 50 case

SNP Member of the European Parliament Mr Alyn Smith, one of the co-litigants in the "Scottish Case" brought by Scottish Parliamentarians from the Scottish, Westminster and European Parliaments on the terms of revocation of Article 50 has issued comment on the Opinion of the Advocate General issued today.

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Scotland in Europe Update: 30th November 2018

Last weekend, Theresa May’s “deal” was signed off by the Council of the EU. Be in no doubt: Mrs May’s so-called deal will leave us all poorer. It answers no questions about the future and is the worst of all worlds.

The Bank of England, the Scottish Government, various academic institutions and even the UK Government agree, we are all going to be poorer from Brexit. Less wealth, less democracy and Scotland part of a UK hell bent on cutting immigration whatever the consequences.

But there is hope on this fine St Andrew's Day. We are close to establishing that MPs at Westminster should not be forced into an entirely false choice between two bad options: no deal or her “deal”.

On Tuesday Jo Maugham QC, Andy Wightman MSP, Ross Greer MSP, Catherine Stihler MEP, David Martin MEP, Joanna Cherry MP and I finally saw our case on the revocability of Article 50 heard by the European Court of Justice. You can read more about the case here goodlawproject.org/... and here eulawanalysis.blogspot.com/...

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Scotland in Europe Update: 23rd November 2018

Next week the Brexit drama moves to Luxembourg, where I believe a fundamental part of undoing Brexit will move a step forward. As we see the mess at Westminster, MPs need to know their choice is not this Blindfold Brexit vs No Deal: there are other options. One of them being to stop Brexit altogether, as Theresa May has finally acknowledged is possible.

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Scotland in Europe Update: 16th November 2018

It has been a quiet(er) hour or two – which means I have at least had the chance to write this – but the rest of the week has been chaos and madness in London. Ministers have resigned, letters of no confidence handed in, and I watched MPs one by one stand up to condemn the deal as ‘not good enough’. These were, of course, the same MPs who so enthusiastically cheered the disastrous act of triggering Article 50 when it was obvious they had no idea what they actually wanted to achieve.

There is no good news in it for Scotland: the UK (despite promising to represent our interests) did not even secure a single mention for Scotland. Had the UK sought special terms recognising our clear pro-EU sentiment, then ideas would have been looked at on their merits. But they didn’t, and the EU cannot solve our problems for us in the teeth of opposition from our own UK Government. You can read more of my thoughts here:
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You can also judge for yourself, the full deal is available here:
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and an outline of the future relationship between the EU and the UK here:
ec.europa.eu/...

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Scotland in Europe Update: 9th November 2018

So this week has seen some good news. A Channel 4 backed poll of around 20,000 people has revealed that UK-wide, support for EU membership has increased to 54%, with only 46% supporting the decision to leave.
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Here in Scotland there is now even greater support for staying in than in 2016. For instance, in Stirling only 29% of people now support Leave, down from 32% in 2016. Here constituents find that – despite voting strongly to remain in the European Union – they are represented by an MP who has used his time in the Commons since being elected last year, to campaign alongside the likes of Jacob Rees-Mogg for a damaging hard Brexit.

You can read more of my thoughts here.
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Scotland in Europe Update: 2nd November 2018

So the negotiations continue in Brussels quietly and behind the scenes. For what it’s worth, I think that the shape of the deal is basically done and we are now just waiting for Theresa May to get her cabinet in order so that she can sign it. As for getting it though the House of Commons with its arcane procedures and equally arcane MPs (SNP MPs notwithstanding!) that will be a different challenge.

What is the deal I hear you ask? Well… at this stage we don’t know. The negotiators are now in something they have named ‘the tunnel’ while they deal with the last of the nitty gritty details. Despite what some commentators seem to be implying, this has remained leak-proof so most of what is being said about it is simply conjecture. We will know soon enough what fate awaits Scotland, and then we can start to make our plans.

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