The Prime Minister’s Brexit deal is the only orderly way the UK can quit the EU without leaving on a cliff edge, the Scottish Tory interim leader has said.
Jackson Carlaw said an “organised and orderly exit” is the best way forward for business, for Scotland and for the UK, and that the deal or something very close to it should be approved.
Mr Carlaw said that, while leaving the EU will pose “very considerable challenges”, he thinks that ultimately the UK will succeed as an independent country outside the group.
Theresa May has warned that the UK will be in “uncharted territory” if her deal is rejected in next week’s crunch vote, expected on January 15.
Mr Carlaw told BBC Good Morning Scotland: “I think that the best way forward for business and for Scotland and for the UK is an organised and orderly exit, and that is what I think the Prime Minister has negotiated and the deal I think, or something very close to it, that should be approved.”
Asked whether it is in the national interest to leave, he replied: “It’s in the national interest that we now leave on an orderly basis and make the best possible success of the future that we will have outside of the European Union.”
He added: “I think that the deal that we currently have is the only orderly way we can leave the European Union without leaving it on a cliff edge with no deal.”
Asked whether Mrs May should rule out no deal, he said: “In the sense that, if we don’t agree an exit deal in 80 days’ time, we will be leaving the European Union, I think no deal is not a preferable option, but there is no real majority for any alternative.”
More than 200 MPs have signed a letter to the Prime Minister urging her to rule out a no-deal Brexit.
Mr Carlaw also said that European leaders have accepted the UK is going to leave EU.
He said: “The idea that they are all hanging around waiting to have a further discussion about how we might negotiate Britain’s exit from the European Union I think is a fantasy.
“They believe that this is the deal that they have negotiated and is the one that we have to either agree or disagree with, but the alternative to that is no deal and I don’t think they want that any more than we do.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Monday that Brexit has “materially strengthened” the case for Scottish independence.
However, Mr Carlaw said there is no majority support in Scotland for a second independence referendum.
SNP MSP Tom Arthur said: “Just like his boss Ruth Davidson, Jackson Carlaw has sold out the Scottish people by fully signing up to whatever untold damage Brexit will do to Scottish jobs, living standards and our economy.
“His attempts to downplay the seriousness of the Brexit reality we face, the prospect of food shortages and stockpiled medicines, demonstrates how out of touch the Tories are with the people of Scotland – who voted overwhelmingly to remain in Europe.
“It’s hard to recall a less competent UK Government than this bunch.
“As they continue to drag the country towards the Brexit cliff edge, the SNP will fight tooth and nail to avert this disaster.”