NEWS
13/02/2019 21:12 GMT

SNP Launches Bid To Delay Brexit By At Least Three Months

"The UK Government must stop running down the clock."

Handout . / Reuters
Westminster SNP leader Ian Blackford.

The SNP has launched a bid to delay Brexit by three months to prevent the UK from being “dragged off a cliff”.

The party has tabled a Commons amendment requiring the UK Government to begin immediate negotiations with the European Council to extend Article 50.

Westminster SNP leader, Ian Blackford, said: “With just 44 days left, the UK Government must stop running down the clock and put the brakes on Brexit before we are dragged off the cliff edge – with catastrophic damage to jobs, living standards, and the economy.”

It’s the latest attempt by MPs to steer the UK away from a no-deal Brexit.

Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer has said Labour is committed to preventing May from pursuing a “reckless” policy of running down the clock to the point where MPs may be faced with a choice between her deal or no-deal with just days to go to the March 29 deadline.

Labour has tabled an amendment for debate in the Commons on Thursday which would require the Government to either put her deal to a vote by February 27 or allow Parliament to take control of the process.

Sir Keir said Labour would also support a proposal from backbencher Yvette Cooper, expected to be debated on February 27, would require a vote by the middle of March on delaying Brexit.

Veteran Tory Europhile Kenneth Clarke has tabled a further amendment, backed by senior figures from across the House including Harriet Harman, which would allow MPs to vote for their preferred Brexit outcome.

The SNP move comes just days after Blackford wrote to Scottish Labour MPs calling on them to reject the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal and support a second referendum.

Earlier, a report from Scotland’s chief economist had warned that a no-deal Brexit would see a “major dislocation” to the Scottish economy.

In his latest State of the Economy report, chief economic adviser Gary Gillespie indicated that disruptions to logistics, supply, trade, investment, migration and market confidence could cause a “significant structural change in the economy”.

The analysis suggested that although the country had experienced a “positive year” economically, with growth in areas such as exports and high labour market performance, uncertainty around the UK’s withdrawal from the EU remained a “live risk”.

And while Scotland’s economy is expected to grow by between 1% and 1.5% over 2019, the report stressed this would need to be reconsidered if the UK fails to agree a departure deal with the EU.