29/03/2017 Reporting Scotland


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European Union after 44 years of membership. That's all from the BBC


Good evening from Westminster, a special edition of the programme. We


will be looking at what the triggering of Article 50 means for


Scotland. We will strengthen the union of the four nations that


comprise our united Kingdom. If she denies Scotland a choice, she will


make Scottish independence inevitable. We will look at the


impact of leaving the single market on the economy. We will be in


Brussels to find out what EU politicians think about the


relationship with Europe. More delays to the new Queensbury


Crossing, could be August before it's open to traffic.


The process that will change the United Kingdom's place


The world's media has gathered here at Westminster to digest


Over there at the Commons the Prime Minister insisted


she wanted to agree a deep and special partnership with Europe.


But in response the SNP's Westminster leader Angus Robertson


called again for a vote on independence to give


In a moment we will be speaking to the UK Government


But first our political correspondent Nick Eardley reports


Another day of history in Westminster. They've hardly been in


short supply. But today's events will change the United Kingdom,


starting one of the most complex negotiations Whitehall has ever


seen, altering our relationship with Europe fundamentally. Will Brexit be


good for Scotland? He think so but his opponents disagree passionately.


The Prime Minister's statement delivered to coincide with the


formal divorce letter arriving in Brussels. Statement, the Prime


Minister. A message of unity and a pledge of more powers for Holyrood.


It is the expectation of the government that the devolved


administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will see a


significant increase in their decision-making power as a result of


this process. When I sit around the negotiating table in the months


ahead I will represent every person in the United Kingdom, young and


old, rich and poor, city, town and country and all the villages and


hamlets in between. The SNP said UK wide agreement hadn't been


delivered. The Prime Minister promised an agreement. There is no


agreement. She has broken her word. If she remains intransigent and if


she denies Scotland a choice on our future, she will make Scottish


independence inevitable. And here it is, the letter that was livid to


President Tusk earlier today. It said that the talks should be


constructive and respectful. It admits the task ahead is momentous


but says it should be within the grasp of the UK and EU to find a


deal two years. Is the message from the UK Government one of optimism?


The tone of the letter is very positive. We want to form a new


relationship with the EU. We are confirming that we will be European


but not part of the EU. We are looking to take these negotiations


forward in a constructive fashion, get a deal that works for Scotland


and the whole of the UK. Some disagree and think today is a bad


one that will make Scotland worse off. A sad day for Scotland and for


the rest of the UK and for Europe as well. For a long, long time we've


become wealthier, healthier, fairer and safer as a result of our


partnership with the European Union. Obviously bad news, not just for


Scotland but for businesses and people's jobs across the length and


breadth of the United Kingdom. There is no stopping this, we cannot get


off this bus, so we need to engage with the process and make sure the


priorities we want are included in negotiations and make sure we hold


this government to account every step of the way. The Brexit process


has begun. Where it takes the UK and where it takes Scotland, those


questions will be answered in coming years.


Our Westminster correspondent David Porter joins me.


David, the Prime Minister insisting that this would be a deal


for all the devolved nations but that wasn't enough for the SNP.


They feel Scotland was not treated as an equal partner? That's right,


in essence this goes to the heart of the disagreement between the ardent


Unionist Theresa May and the nationalist. In our mammoth


statement to MPs this afternoon she said she would negotiate on behalf


of all of the UK but she made it plain there would be no separate


special deals for Scotland. She says more powers can come to Holyrood but


she did not spell them out and the Nationalists want more information.


They feel that to some extent the deal they thought they had for an


agreement that things would be decided before Article 50 was


triggered, they feel the Prime Minister has reneged on that. The


anger we saw in the House of Commons today, I don't think it was


synthetic. I think it was real anger. To some extent what we are


seeing when you add this to the simmering row, the escalating row


that is on Scottish independence, you see just how difficult the


relations are now potentially between the Scottish Government and


relations are now potentially the UK Government. And unless things


improve, just how difficult things could be throughout the whole Brexit


process. The First Minister has warned that


Brexit is a dangerous And Scottish Ministers say


the Article 50 timetable makes the case for an independence


referendum even more compelling. The call came as the UK Government


turned down proposals But Conservatives insist


a referendum would be This from our political


editor Brian Taylor. Nicola Sturgeon says she wishes the


Prime Minister well in her efforts to secure the best possible Brexit


deal. But visiting eight Iosco company creating 300 jobs through


European links, she warns Brexit will be damaging. No doubt that what


is happening today does represent something of a leap in the dark.


Albeit Article 50 has been triggered today, the Prime Minister still


can't answer basic questions about today, the Prime Minister still


what Brexit will mean for businesses, for the economy


generally. The First Minister had urged a distinctive deal involving


Scottish access to the European single market. Eva Davis, the


European exit says that is unworkable. He stresses shared


ground and shared goals for the talks. Scotland will be a strong


voice standing up for Scottish interests. At the end of the process


clearly delineated in the letter, will be required to make a choice.


We can put Scotland's future in Scotland's hands all we can be


dragged along with hard Brexit. The people of Scotland deserve that


choice. The Conservatives say they won't even contemplate an


independence referendum until Brexit is not just signed off but settled


down. Now it's not the time to be putting a second independence


referendum deal on the table. What about 2021? Now is not the time to


be talking about a second independence referendum. Cosier


Dugdale in Wales today discussing feminism says a plague on both


houses. People don't want to be forced to choose between two extreme


nationalism is. I've seen it for years. More and more fierce. A play


about Brexit takes to the stage in a Lascuna. The political drama has now


opened And the SNP's leader


here at Westminster, You spoke with passion today


in the Commons about your opposition to Brexit and that if Scotland's


views were ignored it would make The first thing is obviously it has


been a really big day and a Rubicon has been crossed. The point I was


trying to make to the Prime Minister is that the Scottish Government and


MPs work in good faith to find an agreement, not a compromise. The


MPs work in good faith to find an Prime Minister said she wanted an


agreement before triggering Article 50 and there is no agreement. It


seems to us and will seem too many viewers in Scotland that if the


Prime Minister is prepared to rate her word on that, how should we take


the rest of the promises about what is heading in our direction as a


result of Brexit which I fear will be damaging to our economy, our


links with the rest of Europe. Those promises include more power for the


Scottish parliament, what's not to like? But what does that mean? At


the moment it just sounds like rhetoric. If the Prime Minister were


serious, she would have delivered on the promise she made last July. She


promised a UK wide approach, an agreement with the government of


Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. There is no agreement. If


the Prime Minister wants a respectful arrangement with the


different regions of the UK, if you are going to make such a promise,


you deliver, and if not people are right to question if the rest of it


is a serious opposition or not. I fear this rhetoric about more powers


coming back has already Dean Kiely did by what I believe is likely to


happen which is that all these powers are not coming back. I don't


think fisheries will come back to Scotland, I don't take powers on


agriculture will come back to Scotland, I think they will reserve


powers here to Westminster and Scotland will have to continue to


play second fiddle over far too many areas. Ayew asking voters in


Scotland to choose between the UK and EU, effectively isn't that what


it is? The first instance is a democratic point, should the people


of Scotland have a choice? To which my answer is absolutely. The reason


why this is so important, after 18 months we will see decisions made


here, in the House of Commons and House Lords, the European Parliament


and 27 other European countries, they are all going to have a choice


about our country's future. It seems regardless of whether you voted


remain or leave, on such a big issue when there are going to be two


potential outcomes we can choose, I think people should have the choice.


As Democrats we should all sign up to that and I think we should be


united that given this is such a big thing which is going to impact on


our country so much we should trust the voters on this. Very briefly,


Nicola Sturgeon's letter is still to be delivered to the Prime Minister,


you say it will contain options, can you explain? I will leave that to my


colleagues in the Scottish Government.


Leaving the European Union is a political decision.


Here's our business and economy editor, Douglas Fraser.


It's hard to think of any decision that will affect everyone in the


country the way that this one will. So far it's been mainly political


but the impact will be mainly economic. This is about the movement


of goods across borders, of services often down fibre-optic cables, and


the movement of workers, of consumers. It's about people. This


is one of those affected, his French and exports shellfish from Glasgow


to France, Spain and Italy. There is a threat he could lose the right to


live here. I feel unwelcome. I think I will have to go back to France.


Half of my team come from Eastern Europe. They are happy, stable,


working hard. They are happy to stay here. But now we will see what


happened with the Brexit. At the moment nobody knows. Exports are


helped by the weakened pound though inflation has hit packaging and


helped by the weakened pound though other costs. Fellow French fishermen


could lose access to British waters. I think we cause trouble, the French


are very well-known for that. Any problems, they do the blockage. And


if I can't export tomorrow it will be a serious problem for us. Deep


sea fishing was one business sector pleased to see Theresa May's letter


delivered. She has the support of the fishing industry behind her. By


God if she deviates from that she'll be hearing from us. It's a great day


for the industry and we look forward to an amicable Brexit. Other sectors


have other issues. The boss of publisher HarperCollins says he is


already losing European stuff. Glasgow University wanted to attract


two American recruits but they pulled out because they would not be


linked into academic networks. There are plans to double container


traffic within five years for this group. This economic expert and lead


adviser to the Scottish Government on Brexit says distinctive Scottish


concern is about continuing recent success in attracting young


migrants. These have changed the demographic of Scotland, what skills


and really boosted and reversed the decline in Scottish topography. And


that is key. The British government may have to, mice, he says, a lot,


it if it is to avoid the cliff edge. There is a chance of there not being


a deal, it is a challenging thing to negotiate a deal. If we are on a


cliff edge that could be economic to catastrophic. The consensus amongst


economists is that the outlook does not look good. At the businesses,


they are always looking for opportunities wherever they arise.


I'm joined now by the Scottish Secretary, David Mundell.


How do we know that Brexit won't damage the union


If Brexit is a fatal to the union, Theresa May saw the dangers. I don't


think it is going to be fatal to the United Kingdom. She said it would


be. I think we will deliver on the basis of the letter triggering


Article 50, the Prime Minister's White Paper and we will deliver a


good deal for Scotland and the whole of the UK, and that is the basis on


which the people of Scotland will judge Brexit. The letter today shows


we will take a positive and constructive approach, and we


recognise we are leaving the EU but not to Europe, we will work to get


access to the single market so that Scottish businesses and the economy


can prosper, and we will take advantage of all the other


opportunities that can come with Brexit. How helpful is it to this


partnership of equals that the Westminster government didn't


respond to the Scottish government's proposals for Brexit until after it


was triggered? We have been in a very active dialogue... You didn't


respond until late afternoon! We have been active in a dialogue with


the Scottish government. All the things set out in the letter are


things that have been discussed before, discussed in official


meetings, ministerial meeting so there was nothing that was a


surprise in our response. What we are saying today there are so many


areas in which we are an agreement, and if we don't agree the means, we


agree the end. It would be... We don't think Scotland needs a


separate agreement. If we can get a very good deal for the UK, that


would be a very good deal for Scotland. You said now isn't the


time for another independence referendum. When? I think having an


independence referendum during the Brexit process would be unfair on


Scotland, so we have to seek our way through the journey and


negotiations, through the implementation, I believe, NFP about


transition... Is in it disrespectful to be so an -- ambiguous? I think it


would be disrespectful for us to give a date. We don't have a crystal


ball, we don't know when the Brexit journey will be complete. What we do


know is if people are going to be asked again about the constitutional


future on the basis of Brexit, they have to know what the Brexit deal


is, how it is affecting them, how the relationship of the UK and the


rest of the EU is going to work and it would be disrespectful to ask


them to choose if they don't know that. Thank you very much for your


time this evening. Formal negotiations with Brussels


aren't expected to begin So what do EU politicians


and officials think about Scotland's Our political correspondent,


Glenn Campbell is in Glenn, what's been


the response there? It's just a few hours since the UK's


exit letter was handed in at the European Council. For now, the


enormity of that is more than enough for the EU to chew on but among


politicians and the wider public here there is awareness of the


renewed debate over Scottish independence.


There is no guide to the EU's capital city expert enough to say


what Brexit will bring. I suppose it will not be a good thing and I hope


the Scottish leave the United Kingdom, then they cameramen with


us. You think so? I hope so. Because a majority in Scotland voted


running, the First Minister wanted to keep us if not the whole of the


UK inside the European single market in a Norway style arrangement but


Norway's Minister for the single market, that is membership of the


EA, isn't sure such a special deal would have been possible. I find it


difficult to see a model where Scotland would be part of the UK and


part of the EEA. What if Scotland votes for independence? Be welcomed


into Norway style membership of the European single market? That is the


same answer. We would be open-minded. Cooperation between


countries in Europe is important. Scottish ministers will be pleased


to hear the open-minded this is because they are coming to think


about a Norway style deal as a staging post a full EU and Bishop if


Scotland votes for independence after the UK has left the European


Union. Theresa May wants Brexit to bed in before any fresh vote on


independence but Nicola Sturgeon thinks we will know enough in 18


months to two years. Do not's man in Brussels thinks any shape of Brexit


deal should be clearer by then. I hope and think we will be able to


manage to get a compromise, a deal that would cover both the divorce


Bill and also the future relationship. Nicola Sturgeon is but


lots of effort into explaining her position on Brexit to European


leaders. There is understanding here but most senior figures are


reluctant to be drawn into our debate. As far as Scotland is


concerned, all those who voted to stay feel they are unhappy and feel


their considerations were not taken into account. It will be up to the


people of Scotland to decide what they want now, to organise their


future life. Back in Brussels main square, a visiting leader who has


decided his country should eventually joined the EU. To get


closer and closer to our family, where we feel we belong. Do you


think it is funny Georgia is trying to get in when the UK is coming out?


I might think that it is funny but there is nothing funny in that. It


is a decision of the United Kingdom which we need to respect. Different


countries, different choices. Nicola Sturgeon is determined


Scotland should have another chance to choose to make its own


relationship with the European Union. Theresa May seems equally


determined Scotland should wait to see what extra power Brexit brings


home from Brussels to Holyrood before deciding if we want to choose


between a more independent UK and an independent Scotland.


And there's a news special on the triggering of Brexit


Andrew Neil will be interviewing the prime ministers about her intentions


for the Brexit negotiations to come and be talking to the Scottish


government's Brexit minister where this leaves the next independence


referendum and I'll be talking to Scottish Labour, the Lib Dems and


the Greens. That is at 7pm, immediately after this programme.


The opening of the new Queensferry Crossing has been delayed again.


It's being blamed on bad weather affecting the construction work.


The bridge won't now be open to traffic until July or August.


Weather is blamed for the delay. The Scottish garment flagship's project


was meant to open last September now it will be July or August. We are


frustrated by this but what is important is we have an iconic


structure, which we can't see today, but we have to have it completed


safely and his standard. The contractor faces fines for these


delays. We took the effect on whether into account and added


additional factors onto it, some percentages but what we've actually


found, especially in the last two or three months, the weather has been


far greater than we expected. The Scottish government stresses there


won't be more cost to the purse. In fact it says this six-year project


will come in at a quarter of ?1 billion below budget. Opposition


politicians are critical, they wonder if the timetables were ever


realistic. Why wasn't the Scottish Parliament told earlier there was


going to be another delay? Wended Keith Brown know about this


situation? And was the date regarded by the Scottish government to bury


bad news because all the attention is elsewhere? A couple of lorries


caused closures this winter but now drivers will be hoping there is no


further disruption to either crossing. It is a grey day in


Westminster, let's get the weather now. There was some sunshine around


especially in the north-west. Contrast this with the East Coast,


it is quite murky in St Andrews. Cloudy and dump for all of us but


reasonably mild. Outbreaks of rain moving northwards in the next few


hours, quite messy progress edging northwards, eventually reaching


Shetland by midnight, and as we head through the early hours, that rain


fading away. There will be some mist and Merck around but fairly mild


with temperatures in towns and cities 9-8. Tomorrow gets off to a


reasonably dry at cloudy start with the odd spot of drizzle. Like today,


the rain arouse from the South. North of any higher ground, some


morning sunshine at clouding over as this rain arrives. By mid-afternoon,


the rain starting to peter out so, reasonably dry. The exact timing of


that clearing is open to doubt but we hope many areas should improve


and should be brighter than what we are seeing here. In the sunshine,


temperatures into the teens but all of us in the mild temperatures. And


some brightness coming through, particularly across the far north.


Into the evening, some outbreaks of rain in the south edging northwards,


and that unsettled theme continues towards Friday, with more wet


weather edging northwards from the south. For Friday, a bit of an East-


West split, ad rates of rain in the West, the further east you are, the


brighter it is. The timing of this rain on Friday is uncertain but some


sunshine hopefully to follow. The beginning of April, April showers on


Saturday, some heavy. Sunday, generally drier and brighter but


fresher. That's the forecast. The clock has started on the process


that will see the UK leaving the European Union


but there is a long road ahead before it becomes clear


what the impact will be. There is also the prospect


of a second independence referendum. Well, to consider that I'm joined


by the BBC's political Laura, amid the massive task


of negotiating Brexit, does the Prime Minister


have a strategy to address I think there is a strategy. In the


big picture, it's almost hold your hand up and not now. She said it


publicly but never ruled out the possibility of it ever happening.


The second part of the strategy is we are in a situation where the UK


Government doesn't want to contemplate this vote any time soon,


that's as clear as day. Given the events of the last couple of weeks,


we will now see a more careful consideration, a more constant


checking in the discussions that happen, how would this policy or


discussion play in Holyrood? How would this particularly thorny


problem and fold if it were unfolding in Scotland? How would


people see things from a Scottish perspective? Everything that


happened in the last couple of weeks have put this issue is slap bang on


the table, which means that while the government's position hasn't


changed in terms of saying, let's go for it, you can have the vote, it


has moved the priorities of how things will sound in Scottish is and


look to Scottish eyes higher up the table than they were a few weeks


look to Scottish eyes higher up the ago. Thank you very much for joining


us. And that's the end of this


edition of Reporting Don't forget that special programme


on Brexit beginning after this. From all of us, to quote the EU


President Donald Tusk when he received the Prime Minister's


letter, thank you and goodbye.


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