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Scotland in Europe Update: 18th January 2019

This week has been a hard one. I know from my own inbox and being out and about that for a lot of people Brexit is not just a news crisis far away, it is real life, with real personal impact and folk are anxious. Watching the inevitable fall of Theresa May's deal gave me no satisfaction. The deal is terrible and needed to be defeated, but now we are going to need leadership.

The United Kingdom is not united, and it’s being led by a Tory administration that is less united still. Scotland’s position is clear: we voted to stay. Brexit is bad news for Scotland, bad news for the UK, and bad news for the EU. My job is not to 'mitigate' Brexit, it is to stop it. I’m pleased to see so many of my colleagues – in each level of government all around the UK – working across party lines to try to bring sense to this process.

The first job must be to secure more time. The UK Government should immediately request an extension to Article 50 so that we can plan for the future. While a referendum may well be the way out of this mess, and the UK Government is – at last – starting to listen to voices outside of its echo chamber, we need more time to put the case together.

Most importantly we need greater action on citizens' rights. As I said earlier this week "the European Parliament is the People’s House of Europe and has a duty to its citizens – EU citizens in the UK, UK citizens in the EU – to look after them." You can watch my speech here:

Along with twenty-four other UK MEPs I have written to the Commission calling for the EU to ring-fence citizens' rights. This would ensure that those people already living and working across the EU would finally have certainty as to their position, in the event that no agreement is reached by 29th March. You can read our letter here:

There is a lot to do yet, and nobody knows how this will turn out. We must all work together to stand up for Scotland’s interests.



Before Theresa May lost the vote in Parliament the EU produced a letter explaining why the backstop was necessary and how it works.

After May's Deal was voted down the European Commission released a statement: "I urge the United Kingdom to clarify its intentions as soon as possible. Time is almost up." I couldn’t have put it better myself.

The next day saw Frans Timmermans and Michel Barnier gave an update to the European Parliament.

You can see my speech in that debate here:

Ukip's leader has joined Marine Le Pen's far right group in the European Parliament.

Fintan O’Toole has written a brilliant piece in the Guardian: It was never about Europe. Brexit is Britain's reckoning with itself.

Simon Usherwood has put together an interesting piece on how the EU handles non-approval of treaties, and what that means for Brexit.

The UK Government has failed to secure any deal to maintain the EU's trade deals around the world post-Brexit. So much for opening up to the world.

Emma Carmel of the University of Bath describes the UK's new post-Brexit immigration plan as "surreal and cynical".

Behind the scenes the EU has started to think about the UK extending Article 50.

The UK Government has put out some more no deal warnings. One of which is for driving licenses:

"If you are a UK licence holder living in the EU or EEA you should exchange your UK driving licence for a local EU driving licence before 29 March 2019. From that date, in the event that there is no EU Exit deal, you may have to pass a driving test in the EU country you live in to be able to carry on driving there."

Fellow MEP Julie Ward has written an excellent piece to Jeremy Corbyn asking him to do what's right for her constituents.