Nicola Sturgeon proposes cancelling Holyrood recess over Brexit

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The first minister’s spokesman said it would be “prudent” for Holyrood to be “ready to sit”

Nicola Sturgeon has proposed cancelling the Scottish Parliament’s Easter recess as the debate over Brexit continues.

MSPs were due to have two weeks away from Holyrood from 8 April, clashing with the latest Brexit deadline.

Westminster is set to sit through its Easter recess as MPs attempt to agree a plan for the UK’s exit from the EU.

A spokesman for the first minister said “MSPs should not be on holiday” while the UK is “staring down the barrel of the disaster of no-deal”.

The move would have to be confirmed by Holyrood’s cross-party business bureau management group of MSPs, but has been endorsed by Ms Sturgeon and her cabinet.

The Scottish Greens have also voiced support, and a spokeswoman for the Scottish Parliament said the bureau would consider its position “before the close of business on Thursday”.

It is understood the current proposal is that if the UK is heading for a no-deal exit on 12 April, Holyrood would sit that Thursday and Friday to provide updates and communicate resilience plans.

Prime Minister Theresa May has been unable to win backing for her proposed Brexit plan, while MPs have failed to unite around any alternative after a series of “indicative votes”.

The UK’s departure from the EU was put back from 29 March to 12 April following a summit of European leaders late in March.

Further talks will take place on 10 April, with the possibility of the UK seeking a further extension, or leaving without a deal two days later.

The first minister’s spokesman said it would be “prudent” for Holyrood to be “ready to sit”, saying that “the priority is not recess, the priority is dealing with Brexit”.

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Scottish Parliament

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MSPs could return to Holyrood to sit during the upcoming Easter recess

He said if the UK was “staring down the barrel of the disaster of no-deal, then members of the public would find it weird if parliament was in recess and not focused on the issue in front of them”.

The spokesman added: “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.”

The Scottish Greens said it would be “quite right” for Holyrood to sit in light of the “unprecedented crisis” of no-deal, while the Lib Dems said there would be “a lot of frightened people out there” who would “need reassurances that their representatives are dealing with any issues that arise in a focused and collaborative way”.

However a number of MSPs hit out at the idea of recess being a “holiday”, with severalstressing that it was rather “a chance to catch up on local issues” and hold constituency surgeries.