Scotland to reveal plans of how it will stay in the European Single Market

Oliver Gill
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Michael Russell said a hard Brexit could be a "national disaster" for Scotland (Source: Getty)

Scotland will outline how it will meet its top priority of staying in the European Single Market in plans to be published this week.

Concerns linger that Prime Minister Theresa May will seek a so-called hard Brexit when triggering Article 50 prior to next March as planned – a policy that would put controlling Britain's immigration ahead of anything else, including gaining access to the European single market.

Read more: Nicola Sturgeon plans to intervene in Theresa May's Article 50 appeal

But Michael Russell, the Scottish government's minister for EU negotiations, said a hard Brexit would be a "national disaster for Scotland", putting 80,000 jobs at risk.

"At the heart of our plan is a framework to keep Scotland's place in the European single market," said Russell. "We will set out compromise proposals which, while not conferring the full benefits of EU membership, would mitigate the Brexit damage.

"Brexit presents everyone with an unprecedented challenge, and with political goodwill on all sides and a willingness to cooperate, these proposals can effect a solution for Scotland."

Read more: Nicola Sturgeon calls for all-Scotland coalition against 'hard Brexit'

May has promised to work with the devolved powers of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as part of a unified Brexit strategy.

But, according to reports by Reuters, Russell's plans, to be revealed on Tuesday, will include proposals for "substantial" new powers to be handed to the devolved parliament in Edinburgh post-Brexit.

Meanwhile, former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond warned the future of the union could come under pressure if the UK government failed to acknowledge the wishes of politicians from north of the border.

"If that argument is dismissed, swept aside contemptuously... it is very likely there will be an independence referendum within the next two years," Salmond told Sky News.

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