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Scottish ministers submit 'realistic' Brexit proposals

Plans would see UK retain membership of the European single market and customs union.

Brexit: May 'taking country over a cliff edge'.
Brexit: May 'taking country over a cliff edge'.

Scottish ministers have submitted their own "realistic and workable" Brexit proposals to the UK Government ahead of crunch cabinet talks.

They include a plan to retain membership of the European single market and remain part of the customs union.

Cabinet ministers are due to gather at Chequers on Friday to thrash out a white paper setting proposals for the UK's future relationship with the EU, which can then be put to European leaders in negotiations.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "With more and more senior business figures starting to break cover and make clear that they will be taking jobs and investment out of the UK in the event of a no-deal scenario, the time is fast approaching for the Prime Minister to face down those who would take us over the cliff edge.

"That would mean, at a minimum, staying in the customs union and in the single market, which is about eight times bigger than the UK market alone. That is overwhelmingly in the interests of Scotland and of the UK as a whole.

"But nothing the Tories have done in the last two years suggests that rationality, common sense or the best interests of the country as a whole will prevail."

Scottish constitutional relations secretary Michael Russell put forward the Scottish Government's contribution to the plan as a meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee on EU Negotiations took place in London.

Scottish and Welsh ministers had previously demanded access to a draft of the white paper, stating they would have no "meaningful opportunity" to help shape the UK's stance otherwise.

Mr Russell said: "Brexit is only a matter of months away, but we still have not seen the UK Government position on key issues such as customs arrangements, emerging options for negotiation positions or the full draft white paper.

"That is why, in the absence of detailed and meaningful discussion with the UK Government, we now feel compelled to publish our own realistic and workable proposals for our future relationship with the European Union."

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