Holyrood could cancel recess in case of no-deal Brexit

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has put forward proposals to cancel Holyrood’s upcoming recess in case MSPs have to respond to a no-deal Brexit.

The UK is set to leave the European Union next Friday unless a deal can be agreed or a further extension is granted by the other 27 nations.

Ms Sturgeon and her senior ministerial team met after MPs at Westminster again failed to find a way forward in the Brexit process, with her spokesman saying “the priority is not recess, the priority is dealing with Brexit”.

A series of indicative votes were held in the Commons on Monday but there was no majority support for any of the options available.

In those circumstances, the First Minister’s spokeswoman said: “We think it is prudent for Parliament to be ready to sit next week.

“We should certainly be prepared, willing and able to sit. That is our proposal from Cabinet.”

Business in the Scottish Parliament is currently scheduled to finish on Thursday for the two week-long Easter recess.

Ms Sturgeon’s spokesman said: “The First Minister’s view, endorsed by Cabinet, is if we are in the same position this time next week as we are at the moment – i.e. facing going over the cliff of a no-deal – then the FM’s view is it would unacceptable for the Scottish Parliament to be in recess.”

Any decision to cancel recess would be taken by Holyrood’s parliamentary bureau, which determines day-to-day business in the Scottish Parliament.

The Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh (David Cheskin/PA)

“Who knows where things are going to go over the next view days but certainly the FM’s view and Cabinet’s view is we can’t be in a situation where we are about to go over the cliff edge of no-deal with Parliament and MSPs in recess,” he said.

“The First Minister’s view is clearly MSPs should not be on holiday when the biggest, most momentous, potentially most damaging issue to hit Scotland and the UK since the Second World War is about to take place.”

A Scottish Parliament spokeswoman said later: “The bureau considered the issue at its meeting today and will be considering it further before the close of business on Thursday.”

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