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Scotland in Europe Update: 3rd May 2019

As I write the local election results in England are coming through and to me it is clear is that it has been a bad day for the pro-Brexit parties (Tory/Ukip) and the fudgy Brexit party (Labour). The parties that are vocally pro-EU (Greens/Liberal Democrats) did the best. There is a clear and obvious pattern here. Anybody who interprets these results as pro-Brexit is either dishonest or just plain wrong.

So one election down, on to the next one. The European Parliamentary elections. People have been asking me if the election will happen, and what happens if it does. I’m now convinced that it is happening. There was a time, recently, when I thought that Brexiter Corbyn and born-again Leaver May would between them find a form of words to get her disastrous Withdrawal Agreement over the line.

It is still possible – and if Brexit has taught me anything it is never say never – but in this case I suspect that result would fall apart within days, and the next phase of talks will be even tougher. Yes there is a desire in much of Westminster to just “get it done” but I’m not sure there is time and I think Corbyn has decided he might as well let the Euros happen.

Much as Labour are not looking at a great result, the Tories are guaranteed an awful time. So I do think the elections are happening, and as to the second question, of what comes next, I think it will be largely decided by the result of the election itself. If there is a huge Remain vote for clearly pro-Remain parties, then I think that tends towards a second EU referendum; if there is a huge Leave vote then I think that tends towards them sitting down and quietly agreeing the Withdrawal Agreement.

So this really matters – the coming European election is our chance to stop Brexit. After Labour’s decision this week not to prioritise backing a referendum they cannot be trusted to stop Brexit. Vote accordingly!

P.S. Remember you have until the 7 May to register for the European Elections and EU citizens can vote. Click here for more details:




Chris Grayling has cancelled his no-deal ferry contracts at a cost to the taxpayer of £50m.

YouGov have done some interesting polling on how parties are perceived in relation to Brexit. The good news is the SNP is the most recognisable anti-Brexit party, with 65% of people identifying the party’s stance as wanting to remain in the EU.

In the latest poll 93% of people in Ireland believe that Ireland should remain in the EU.

Dr Minako Morita-Jaeger, an international trade policy consultant and Associate Fellow of the UK Trade Policy Observatory has written an interesting piece on how Brexit is disturbing UK-Japan trade relations.

Scottish-Icelandic relations and Brexit were discussed by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the Icelandic Prime Minister, Katrín Jakobsdóttir.

“The tension between commercial interests and security concerns predates the Brexit referendum and isn’t unique to the U.K. But Brexit makes it harder to show a common front. It also makes internal divisions more public as competing camps vie for control.” Bloomberg have brought together a piece that is well worth a read on the problems the UK is facing.

In a shocking development Open Democracy have also revealed that a Senior Tory MEP is a key Huawei cheerleader in Brussels.

Scotch whisky’s contribution to UK economy rose by 10%.

Brexit makes the case for an independent Scotland. At the whim of the Tory party, Scots have been told to surrender their European identity. I couldn’t put it better than Philip Stephens does in this piece in the Financial Times.

The European Parliament Research Service has been looking into what role a post-Brexit United Kingdom will have in European defence.

The House of Commons Library have put together a report on the EU27's internal politics and views on Brexit.

Kitty Stewart (of the LSE) reviews the evidence on how Brexit is expected to affect different population groups and asks whether it might, at least, reduce income inequality.