The UK crashing out of the EU with no exit deal on Friday would be “unconscionable”, an SNP MEP said, as he revealed his party is preparing to fight next month’s European elections.
Alyn Smith said both he and the other sitting SNP MEP Ian Hudghton would stand again if the UK takes part in vote, with Nicola Sturgeon’s party also putting forward other candidates.
Taking part in European Parliament elections would more than likely be a condition if the other EU 27 nations grant the UK a longer extension to the Article 50 process.
And Mr Smith told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme: “We’re up for the cup if we have a European election at all.”
He confirmed both he and Mr Hudghton would be candidates, as he insisted the “best option” would be for the UK to revoke Article 50 altogether and remain within the European Union.
Failing that, he suggested the UK could hold a second Brexit referendum “to turn it around as a way forward”.
But Mr Smith stated: “All of these options necessitate a European election and we’re putting a list together. I’ll be a candidate, as will Ian Hudghton.”
While Theresa May wants Brexit to be put off until June 30, it seems more likely EU leaders will offer the UK a longer extension.
Speaking ahead of a crunch EU summit, European Council president Donald Tusk said there was “little reason to believe” that the ratification of Mrs May’s beleaguered Brexit deal could be completed by the end of June.
Consequently he said the Council should consider a “flexible extension” lasting “as long as necessary and no longer than one year”.
Without an extension being agreed, the UK is currently set to leave the EU on Friday night, with no deal in place.
Mr Smith said: “It seems likely that there is going to need to be an extension because the idea of crashing out on Friday is just unconscionable.”
He added: “It’s Mrs May that has brought us here, be in no doubt about that, but the idea of crashing out just isn’t an option.
“So a delay seems almost inevitable. The question is, is it a long delay or is it a short delay.”
But he also warned some European leaders felt the UK was “messing them about” over Brexit.
The SNP MEP said: “Nobody in the EU wants to see us leave at all, everybody regrets Brexit, there is a strong desire to try and find a form of words to keep us in, but nobody wants to be messed about and people increasingly in Brussels are feeling that the UK and Mrs May and the Tories – and everybody knows where the problem actually is – is messing us about.”