Prominent Scots pen open letter calling for re-think of Brexit

Politicians and academics want a “UK-wide debate” as second round of talks start in Brussels.

AN OPEN LETTER released today has called for a “UK-wide debate” about halting the Brexit process.

The letter, published in the Herald letters page, was signed by prominent Scottish politicians, academics and business leaders, saying Brexit’s “disastrous consequences become clearer and clearer –  every day”.

The letter spoke of the effect of Brexit on the UK’s standing in the world, saying: “Our international reputation has been seriously damaged, leaving the UK weak, with diminished influence, in an increasingly uncertain and unstable world.”

“We see our society, economy and politics becoming ever more undermined due to the impact of Brexit.” Open letter from academics and business leaders

Among the letter’s signatories is former first minister Henry McLeish, who stated before the referendum that he would support Scottish Independence after Brexit, with former Tory MEP Struan Stevenson the only one to break Conservative ranks.

Economics Professor David Bell of Stirling University, former Financial Times reporter Andrew Bolger and Dr Eve Hepburn, chief executive of Fearless Femme are also signatories.

The letter says: “We see our society, economy and politics becoming ever more undermined due to the impact of Brexit.”

Speaking to CommonSpace Professor Lesley Anne Glover, Aberdeen University’s Dean for Europe and a signatory of the letter, told CommonSpace that she felt the UK was “sleepwalking into disaster” and that Brexit would hit those at the bottom hardest. 

“Will I feel the economic impact? No. I have a good job,” she said. “I feel for the people that don’t have a good job, or have no job.”

The letter comes during a dispiriting time for Brexit supporters, following the dissension of former Vote Leave campaign head Dominic Cummings, who branded Brexit Secretary David Davis “thick as mince” on his Twitter account.

Davis was also criticised for leaving a meeting with chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels after just two hours.

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A spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives said “Every major political party, including Labour and the SNP, accepts that the country voted, in a free and fair referendum, to leave the European Union. It is the duty of the government to make sure it happens.”

A Labour spokesperson said: “Labour accepts the EU referendum result and a Labour government will put the national interest first

“Labour will seek a clear and binding commitment to repatriate powers in devolved areas to the Scottish Parliament. We will insist this must be done in a short, but achievable timeframe.”

The letter was welcomed by Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine, whose party has maintained its call for a second referendum on Brexit.

Jardine said, “This letter is a significant, and welcome, intervention from representatives from all areas of Scottish society on an issue with profound implications for all of us.

“With food prices on the rise, the devolution process under threat and a cabinet riven by infighting, the Conservatives and Labour should abandon their support for an extreme Brexit”

The Department for Exiting the EU was apparoached for comment, but had not replied at time of publication.

Picture courtesy of (Mick Baker)rooster

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