A “disastrous” no-deal Brexit is the most-likely outcome if Theresa May’s deal is rejected by MPs, the Scottish Secretary has warned.
The Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell urged MPs to back the Prime Minister and vote for the Brexit deal.
Speaking after giving a Brexit briefing to Scotland’s leading financial service companies in Edinburgh, Mr Mundell said: “The financial services industry is very clear: we need a deal, we need an orderly exit from the EU and we need certainty.
“Like business more generally – and I think the public – they want to see MPs reducing uncertainty, stopping chaos and further division, concluding a deal and allowing business to move forward.”
Dismissing the possibility of renegotiating the deal, he said: “No deal is the most-likely alternative to there being a deal.
“Anyone who votes against the deal is increasing the prospect of there being a no deal and I can’t understand how anyone can contemplate that given the disastrous impact it would have on Scotland.”
Asked about First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s calls for extending the length of Article 50, Mr Mundell replied: “I don’t see any circumstances where Article 50 should be extended, it’s just extending the uncertainty, the division and the confusion.
“I can see quite clearly that’s something that would appeal to Nicola Sturgeon because she’s now promoting a no-deal scenario because she believes that chaos and division is the best backdrop for having another independence referendum.”
After the event with Mr Mundell, Scottish Financial Enterprise chief executive Graeme Jones said: “An orderly withdrawal from the European Union is essential to enable Scottish financial services to serve clients and customers without disruption.
“The Withdrawal Agreement represents progress towards this as it provides clarity on a transition period which will allow our sector additional time to prepare for the complex process of the UK leaving the EU.
“However, there is more hard work to be done including securing the necessary regulatory cooperation and SFE will continue to seek assurances from the UK Government in this regard.”
With pressure mounting on the Prime Minister ahead of next Tuesday’s vote, Mr Mundell refused to be drawn on whether Theresa May’s premiership would survive if the deal was rejected in Parliament.
“Wider speculation isn’t in any way helpful,” he said. “It’s a big week, there’s going to be five full days of debate.
“I’m confident, still, that we can get the deal through next week.”
With eight days to go until the vote, 20 Conservative MPs have said publicly they will vote against Mrs May’s deal, 45 Cons MPs have said they will not vote in favour while 26 another Tory MPs have declared they are unhappy with the deal.
The Prime Minister will need the support of at least 320 MPs to win the vote, but faces an uphill task with Labour, the SNP, Plaid Cymru and the DUP all coming out against the deal.
The Scottish Secretary’s warning comes after Mrs May told Tory MPs to “hold their nerve” and back her Brexit deal.
Mrs May told ITV’s This Morning: “At the end of the line it is, I think, about holding our nerve and getting this over the line so we can deliver on Brexit and people can have that better future.”
The PM added: “We can be better off. That’s up to us. It’s going to be different from being in the EU.
“It is a different relationship. But, that’s what people voted for.”