News In Focus
Grahame chairs as Sturgeon opens series on Scotland After Brexit
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has opened a series of talks supported by Scotland's legal professional bodies on the theme, Scotland After Brexit.
Angela Grahame QC, Vice Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, chaired the event by the David Hume Institute, which has invited each of the major Scottish party leaders to "share their hopes, expectations and concerns for our country" in its 2018 Politicians and Professionals Series.
In coming weeks, Ruth Davidson, Richard Leonard, Willie Rennie and Patrick Harvie will give their thoughts to audiences at the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE), George Street, Edinburgh.
The series is supported by the Faculty, the Law Society of Scotland, the RSE, the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries, and the RSE Young Academy of Scotland.
In her talk (text available at this link) Ms Sturgeon reiterated her view that Brexit would be very damaging to the UK, and to Scotland, and that "the only sensible post-Brexit position for the UK is continued membership of the Single Market and Customs Union... being in the Single Market is far preferable to any of the quite limited number of alternative future relationships" – as indicated by the economic modelling just published by the Scottish Government.
On the EU Withdrawal Bill, she expressed her disappointment that the UK Government's amendments to protect the devolution settlement would not be ready until the bill reached the House of Lords. "I hope we can reach a settlement and an agreement on this and we are still working hard to do that. But I think it is fair to say that while there is still the prospect of reaching agreement, and we will continue to do what we can to deliver that, the prospects are reducing rather than increasing."
She also called for a "change of narrative" around immigration and free movement – to look beyond the consequences for particular sectors of the economy and the workforce, important though these were, to "the consequences of any restriction in our ability to attract skills and talent here for our overall population level and economic prospects well into the future". Without inward migration, Scotland's population would start to fall rather than rise, making it more difficult to fund public services.
Ms Grahame commented: "For five years, the Politicians and Professionals Series has been providing a forum for interesting and stimulating debate on the most significant issues of our time. It was an honour for the Faculty to be invited by the David Hume Institute to chair the event with the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, and it proved to be a great success."
Click here for details of all the events, and to register.