By Olivia Armstrong
SCOTTISH LABOUR MSP Jackie Baillie has warned that the UK is “walking closer to the cliff edge without any sign of a deal” regarding Brexit.
Baillie was speaking after a report from The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, released on Tuesday, which claimed a second Brexit referendum or change in government could significantly improve the UK’s economic situation. She added that the Labour party should refuse “a bad Brexit deal” in the UK Parliament.
She said: “ I want Labour to vote down any outcome which would damage jobs and our economy. If the Tories put a bad Brexit deal before parliament, we should refuse to accept it because an economy in ruins means less money to pay for public services and more austerity for working people.”
Baillie added that single market membership should be Labour’s priority. “In my view, we should aim for retaining membership of the single market and the customs union as it’s the only way to protect jobs, tackle austerity and defend workers’ rights,” she said.
The OECD report warned that if Theresa May’s negotiations in Brussels result in a “disorderly Brexit”, the UK’s economy could face irreparable damage.
With the pound sterling continuing to fall in rate against the Euro and US Dollar, May has been criticised by European leaders regarding a lack of clarity in her approach.
“In case Brexit gets reversed by political decision (change of majority, new referendum, etc), the positive impact on growth would be significant,” the report said.
The latest UK economic survey predicts an economic growth of only 1% in 2018, with warning that this could worsen without agreement to a free trade deal. May stated last week that the government was spending £250m on contingency preparations in the event of a no deal being made.
There has been turmoil in the Tory party since the snap general election in June after May reduced the Tories overall majority in the Commons. Questions have since been raised over her tenure and the Brexit process.
Columnist for Sunday Herald and Editor of CommonSpace Angela Haggerty said that it would be unwise to rule out a second vote on EU membership.
She said: “I wouldn’t rule anything out when it comes to Brexit because it is chaos at the moment. All of this time after the vote and only 18 months to go till the UK is supposed to leave, it is incredible how little progress has been made in the negotiations.
“I think the further that the UK gets towards that deadline of March 2019, the more pressing these issues are going to be in people’s minds. There could be a request for a second referendum in Scotland, there could be some big developments in Northern Ireland. We could even see another snap general election triggered if the politicians at Westminister can’t agree with each other.”
Scotland voted with a majority of 62% to remain in the EU in June last year. A second vote on Scottish independence remains a prospect in Scotland after the SNP secured a mandate from the Scottish Parliament earlier this year to seek permission for a fresh vote from Westminster.