Blog: Tory candidate criticised for describing Brexit disruption as a ‘hiccup’ – Press and Journal

SNP MP Stephen Flynn has described remarks made by Scottish Conservative candidate Douglas Lumsden over Brexit as “appalling”.

Mr Lumsden, who is standing in Aberdeen Central and on the regional north-east list for the Tories, told BBC Newsnight that Brexit is “out of the way now”.

The Aberdeen City Council co-leader also told the programme “there were some hiccups at the start of Brexit” but “we’re through that”.

SNP MP Stephen Flynn, who represents Aberdeen South, accused Mr Lumsden of having his “head in the sand” over the impact of Brexit, particularly among the fishing community in the north-east.

But Mr Lumsden said he would take “no lectures from the SNP on Brexit”, citing a report by the London School of Economics Centre for Economic Performance, which projected the economic costs of Scottish independence are two to three times greater than the impact of Brexit.

Mr Flynn said: “To describe the devastation and hardship that businesses have suffered because of Brexit as a hiccup is downright appalling and shows that the Tories are completely out of touch with the damage they have caused.

Stephen Flynn.

“To even suggest that we’re ‘through that’ is as ignorant as it is misleading – key exports have plummeted, fishermen have been betrayed, freedom of movement has been binned, violence has erupted in Northern Ireland and there is still no deal for our key financial services.

“The people of Scotland didn’t vote for this sorry Brexit mess and when Douglas Lumsden finally removes his head from the sand he should hang it in shame for defending the indefensible.”

‘Out of touch’

Mr Lumsden accused Mr Flynn and the SNP of “not valuing democracy”, arguing that more than one million Scots voted for Brexit and more than two million voted for Scotland to remain within the United Kingdom.

He claimed that once the current Covid-19 restrictions are removed, “Scottish companies will begin to trade not only with the EU but right across the world as new exciting opportunities for trade will emerge”.

Scotland voted strongly in favour of remaining in the EU in 2016, with 62% voting in favour and 38% voting to leave.

© Shutterstock
EU Council staff members arrive to remove the United Kingdom’s flag from the European Council building in Brussels on Brexit Day, January 31.

On Wednesday, JP Morgan Boss Jamie Dimon warned that Brexit “cannot possibly be positive for the UK” in the short-term and claimed it would lead to added costs for customers across the UK and Europe.

Mr Lumsden added:”The SNP shameful attempt to focus on independence at a time of a world pandemic proves how out of touch the SNP are from the reality of people’s wishes in Scotland.”

Elspeth Macdonald, chief executive of the Scottish Fisherman’s Association, told BBC Newsnight the industry was “hugely disappointed” by the outcome of the Brexit negotiations.

She said it fell “far short” of what the industry hoped for”.

Ms Macdonald added: “But that’s the hand we’ve been dealt with now and we have to work with that.”

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