First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

“Article 50 must now be extended. That is the best way to stop the clock and take away any risk of the UK crashing out of the European Union without a deal at the end of March – which would be devastating to Scotland’s economy, businesses and communities.

“Once that extension has been agreed, the UK Government should bring forward legislation to give people a say in another referendum. The Prime Minister has had two-and-a-half years to come up with a credible, workable Brexit plan and we are no further forward, so now it is time for other options to be put on the table.”

HeraldScotland:

Liz Cameron OBE, Director & Chief Executive, Scottish Chambers of Commerce

“The rationale for a delay to the Article 50 timeline is growing each and every day in our business communities. An extension to Article 50 would, first and foremost, avoid a no-deal outcome on March 29, but it would also acknowledge that neither business nor government are prepared for such a scenario. Our firms still lack the clear, precise information that would enable them to adapt to new trading conditions, and businesses do not have confidence that government is ready to successfully manage any disruption that may arise.

“While an extension to Article 50 prolongs uncertainty for business, it would also avoid the clear danger that a no-deal exit on March 29 poses to business, communities, and the UK economy.

“Following the defeat of the Prime Minister’s Brexit agreement, businesses will be weighing up the least bad option. For many firms, extending the timeline of business uncertainty a bit longer will be a price worth paying in order to avoid the damage and confusion that a no-deal Brexit would inflict on businesses and communities.”

HeraldScotland:

Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, principal of Glasgow University

"With the Prime Minister’s deal dead and Parliament in gridlock, there is only one way out – that is to request an extension to Article 50, and call a People’s Vote.

"The EU has been clear that it would be prepared to accept a short extension to Article 50 if this facilitated a second referendum in advance of the European Parliament elections, and – given that the Prime Minister has been unable to secure an acceptable deal and Parliament is clearly unable to agree on an acceptable alternative – doing so would appear the only opportunity to avoid the chaos of a no-deal outcome."

HeraldScotland:

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie

“A no-deal Brexit would be devastating, with British exports snarled up in bureaucratic form-filling and potentially shortages of food and medicine.

“It baffles me that any government that seriously claimed to have its citizens' interests at heart could contemplate this. That’s why it is essential that the Prime Minister – or Parliament – withdraw Article 50.

“Extending Article 50 would give the time for Labour and the Conservatives to take a long hard look at themselves and admit that Brexit is a disaster. It would also allow us the time to legislate for a People’s Vote with the option of remaining in the EU.”

HeraldScotland:

Patrick Harvie, co-convener of the Scottish Greens

“Following this week’s events, the 10-week timetable isn’t remotely credible. With no clarity about plan B, no willingness in the EU to renegotiate, and no serious support for the chaos of the cliff-edge, the Article 50 process must be extended or revoked.

"We have more than enough reasons for a People’s Vote – the Leave campaign’s false promises and outright lies, the findings that it broke electoral law, the dark money scandal and the deadlock at Westminster. We must let the voters cancel this self-destructive process, and remain members of the EU with all the benefits that guarantees.”

HeraldScotland:

David Watt, executive director of IoD Scotland

“The IoD is now speaking to its members to gauge what they would like to see politicians do next. Business leaders in general are very concerned about a no-deal Brexit and its implications; especially the lack of preparation time.

"Many will find themselves at a cliff edge over tariffs, logistics and funding, not to mention air traffic and on-time supply of parts. The biggest concern is staff, especially the uncertainty and cost facing even long-term EU citizens living and working in Scotland.

"With all of this in mind, the inevitable conclusion is to extend Article 50. It may be the only option to ensure a deal and a reasonable transition period.”

HeraldScotland:

Grahame Smith, general secretary of the STUC

Theresa May’s deal is dead in the water so MPs must now focus on what happens next. Crashing out of the EU in a no-deal Brexit is a catastrophe for workers. After a decade of austerity and with living standards already under pressure, workers simply will not tolerate any more economic pain.

"With Parliament so divided the only sure way to avoid no-deal is to extend the Article 50 process. This allows time to sort the mess created by this incompetent Government and gives people the chance to have their say through a general election or People’s Vote.”

HeraldScotland:

Colin Borland, director of devolved nations at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB)

"With only one in seven Scottish small businesses preparing for no-deal, extending Article 50 may become necessary. But it’ll only be worth buying extra time if we can break the deadlock. That means cross-party co-operation and compromise.

"With business confidence plummeting, our politicians need to put aside differences, for the wellbeing of their communities if nothing else. During any extension – say until the newly elected MEPs take their seats on July 2 – we must secure a transitional deal.

"This longer window could give Scottish business a much-needed opportunity to prepare while taking the fever out of the public debate."

HeraldScotland:

Gary Smith, Scotland Secretary of the GMB trade union

“The extension of Article 50 is essential because a no-deal Brexit would be disastrous for the Scottish economy.

“Outside the political bubble, industries are stockpiling and the price of commodities and raw materials are rising. It’s fuel for a slump and an inflation hike which would hammer jobs and households.

"Meanwhile, the loss of the EIB [European Investment Bank] will hit future investment in Scotland’s infrastructure hard – a generation lost.

"There is no good news here. Scotland is going to suffer serious blows but short of remaining in the EU we need more time to try to mitigate the inevitable damage.”

HeraldScotland:

Anna Fowlie, chief executive of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO)

“SCVO continues to advocate continued EU membership. However, the UK Government is pressing ahead with exiting from the EU having triggered Article 50 without knowing what it wanted to negotiate.

"After two years, we find ourselves on the brink of exiting th

e EU without a withdrawal agreement that both the UK Parliament and the EU can sign up to. There is therefore no choice but to seek agreement with the EU to extend Article 50 to allow time for a second EU referendum to take place.

"The questions on the ballot should be agreed with the devolved parliaments and should include remain as an option. If we don’t do this, Scotland and the rest of the UK will be pushed over the cliff into an unknown situation that could be disastrous for our country, particularly our most vulnerable citizens.”

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