Posted by Geoff Bishop.
Written by Andrew Learmonth.
From The National.
NICOLA Sturgeon has criticised the UK Government’s refusal to publish its breakdown of Brexit’s impact on Scotland.
The First Minister spoke out after UK Brexit Secretary David Davis had told MPs that the Government had decided not to publish anything that would “undermine national interest” and to release industry-specific information is the equivalent of “giving a price list to the other side”.
Speaking at a meeting of Holyrood’s conveners group, Sturgeon said it was ridiculous to suggest keeping the reports secret was in the “national interest”.
“We saw reports yesterday estimating the loss of economic output in Scotland could be £30 billion.
“I certainly would like to see more transparency around this from the UK Government and there are suggestions that the UK Government has sector specific analysis of the impact of Brexit.
“There’s a suggestion that it has an analysis looking particularly at Scotland as whole but thus far there’s been a refusal to publish those analyses. I think that’s unconscionable. I think the public have a right to know.”
Sturgeon told the MSPs: “It might not be in the interest of the UK Government to publish these, but it’s certainly in the national interest to publish them.
“There is lack of willingness to share information and to allow the Scottish Government, or indeed the other devolved administrations, to properly influence this work.
“I just don’t think that is acceptable, either from the point of view of respect for devolution or in the interest of actually getting the best possible outcomes to these discussions.”
Meanwhile, during another chaotic afternoon for the UK Government, Davis was forced to perform a massive U-turn after he told MPs that Parliament might only get a vote on any final trade deal with Europe after Britain has left the EU in March 2019.
His department later put out a clarification saying that the vote would, in fact, probably, be well before Brexit day.
It all started when Labour MP Seema Malhotra had asked Davis when thought the vote would be, and if it might come after March 29, 2019.
He said: “Yes, it could be. It can’t come before we have the deal. We have said it is our intent and expect-ation that we will bring it to the British Parliament before the European Parliament.”
This infuriated MPs, who said it was breaking a promise the Government had already made, and one which, after the Supreme Court decision, could be challenged in court.
Later at Prime Minister’s Questions, in an attempt to diffuse the situation, May dismissed Davis’s claims, saying “We are confident we will. The timetable under the Lisbon treaty does give time until March 2019 for the negotiations to take place.