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The Dinwoodie Interview

I’d enjoyed the benefits of freedom of movement, Europe is in my DNA

STEPHEN Gethins is still on a high the morning we chat, and no wonder. The night before, the Tory Government suffered its first Brexit defeat, handing the Commons ultimate control of the outcome on the final deal rather than leaving it to Ministerial fiat. That morning the London edition of the Daily Mail carried photos of eleven Tory “malcontents” which their leader, former Attorney General Dominic Grieve, said resulted in death threats from diehard Brexiteers.

The SNP’s Europe and Foreign Affairs spokesman is entitled to be bursting with adrenaline after such a night of high drama at Westminster, but although he is generally of an upbeat and optimistic nature, as we discuss the minutia of the negotiations and the at times wilful ignorance of many on the UK side, the prospects of avoiding a damaging hard Brexit seem to recede. He pauses and says, almost apologetically: “I know I paint a gloomy picture. Right now I think we are headed for a hard Brexit that will be very damaging for different sectors in different ways. Higher education, research posts, restaurants, the food and drinks sector, tourism and opportunities for young Scots to travel will all be badly hit.”

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iScot January 2018 Edition The one with the i = X over Y front cover