Scots in Brussels feel powerless about Brexit

Scots in Brussels feel powerless about Brexit
By Meabh McMahon
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St Andrew's Day in Brussels provided time for reflection on Scotland's Brexit status.


As all eyes are on the House of Commons and the meaningful vote on 11 December, Scots in Brussels have been talking to Euronews about how they feel about the UK's divorce papers.

For Tom Murray from Glasgow who has been based in Brussels for over ten years, Brexit has become an obsession that he never signed up for.

"It is annoying, it is frustrating because Scotland didn't vote for Brexit, we are getting Brexit. Our Parliament didn't vote for Brexit, we are getting Brexit. Our MPS in the House of Commons have very little ability to make amendments to the legislation getting though going through. We are powerless, you know," he says.

Natalie Chailloux from Edinburgh feels the same. She is also based in Brussels where she is married to a French man and feels very integrated into Belgian life, but she always has one eye on domestic affairs back home. She is secretly hoping for a people's vote but she knows how risky that could be and how upset Brexiteers would become.

"Another (Brexit) referendum would ideally for us be exciting but then again maybe it is too soon, Too soon. A lot of Brexiteers really really want to leave and I do understand that. They won their referendum. It is very tricky, it is difficult. We are all at a loss a little bit but I think what Nicolas Sturgeon is saying about remaining in single market and things like that makes sense to all of us who know how the EU works, and the benefits it brings to Scotland, personally I would say I am for that."

Earlier this month, the Scottish government put out their feedback to the withdrawal agreement and said the 35 SNP MP's would be rejecting Theresa May's deal on 11 December. Fiona Hyslop was in Brussels to hammer home this message to her EU counterparts and repeat how much the Scottish government wanted to keep them in the single market and the customs union.

"We want to remain as part of the European Union but we will do everything we can to make sure that there is not a hide cliff edge no deal that we can make our way forward but if Theresa May continues to ignore the people of Scotland then she does so at her peril,"said Fiona Hyslop, Scottish cabinet secretary for culture and tourism and external affairs.

One man feeling ignored is Scottish SNP MEP Alyn Smith. He thinks Theresa May's trip to Scotland at the end of November did more harm than good.

"It was utterly stage managed. It was something Kim Jong Un would have been embarrassed about, it was so controlled. It persuaded nobody. Journalists were excluded from asking questions. As a politician, that is absolutely outrageous. I don't think anybody can avoid scrutiny in the way Theresa May did and have no consequence is. If she was looking to persuade people in Scotland, she did the exact opposite. She underlined just how fragile her case is," says Smith.

Brexiteers are not impressed either, like Scottish MEP David Coburn.

"It's an absolute disgrace and this is keeping us handcuffed to the European Union we might also be here and what is she let the kind of country she's let down the party and it's a disgrace we should be leaving," remarked Coburn during the last Strasbourg plenary.

62% of Scots voted to remain in the EU back in June 2016 and as they are part of the UK, their interests are represented by Theresa May.

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