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Scotland in Europe Update: 15th February 2019

Do you remember a time when Government defeats seemed like a big deal? Last night, Theresa May suffered yet another rejection from her own party as MPs voted 303-258 against a motion endorsing the government’s negotiating strategy. While this has no legal effect – and Downing Street has already confirmed the PM will continue her revolutionary ‘nae cairds’ approach to the EU talks – it weakens her position, including a subtle approach to rule out a no-deal Brexit.

Meanwhile, it was deeply disappointing that so many Labour MPs abstained on the SNP motion to extend Article 50 by a minimum of three months. Hats off to those MPs – including Edinburgh South’s Ian Murray – who put country over party. Sadly it wasn’t enough this time.

Ian Dunt has a typically blistering round-up of the vote and background here:

Although it’s difficult to see what sums up this mess more than Brexiters Hoey and Davis admitting before the referendum that they didn’t understand how the EU works.

We must remember it is emphatically not Mrs May’s disastrous deal v no-deal. The UK can unilaterally revoke Article 50 and stop this chaos at any time up to 29 March. But can we rely on common sense to prevail and MPs to finally fend off the hardliners? I must admit, I’m getting tired of this Conservative Party tale, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. This isn’t a game. It should never have been treated as such.



Here in the UK Brexit might dominate everything, but meanwhile the EU still has grown-up global concerns to deal with, (concerns which it didn’t inflict on itself for the sake of some daft internal party feud). Here’s my piece on Venezuela.

The UK Government won’t be rolling over all the EU and third country trade treaties by 29 March, admits Disgraced Former Defence Secretary Liam Fox.

Here’s what you could have won! The European Parliament has produced this snazzy ‘What Europe does for me’ guide ahead of the 2019 European Parliament elections.

Meanwhile, MEPs are trying to make sure the UK Government brings forward a proposal to replace funding streams for deprived communities.

Nobel Prize winner Lord David Trimble has formally begun a legal challenge against the backstop in Northern Ireland.

May has begged MPs to give her more time to secure a Brexit deal. Maybe you shouldn’t have triggered Article 50 so early, Theresa?

But Stephen Barclay MP, who at the time of typing is Brexit Secretary, says extension is not the plan.

Who are the shadowy organisations pushing for no-deal? Despite the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the UK Government has introduced no new laws to deal with dark money.

Last month, I said we’re not ready for a fresh Scottish Independence Referendum. Here’s why.

This thread on a US meat lobbyist outlining what the Trump administration wants from a Brexit trade deal confirms my worst fears. If you think the Tories –so desperate to get “a deal” – will defend our farmers and consumers, I have a bridge to sell you.

The Chief of MI6 may have to extend his five-year term due to Brexit insecurity.

The estimated weekly cost of Brexit so far is £800m. That's more than double the £350m Leave claimed could be saved on EU membership fees and spent on the NHS, according to a Bank of England rate-setter.

I was deeply disappointed by the Article 13 copyright compromise this week, but the fight goes on.

Fintan O’Toole: The Brexit sense of danger hides the fact that the UK is repatriating the ‘boring’ stuff the EU excels at.

On that note, here’s my insider guide to how that works.

May tells horrified businesses there’s no point in extending Article 50.

Absolutely fascinating piece from the Guardian here on how the rest of Europe views Brexit.

GQ has compiled an A-Z of Brexit porkies.

And finally, I’ll be in Edinburgh at the end of the month for this event discussing the 'Scottish Six' court case and its impacts for Scotland as we head towards Brexit. Please pop along and say hello if you can make it!