Church of Scotland says UK must not leave EU 'without a comprehensive agreement in place'

Theresa May has suffered a humiliating defeat after her Brexit deal was rejected by 230 votes

The Church of Scotland has urged the UK Government and Westminster to work to ensure a comprehensive agreement is in place before pulling out of the EU. 

Speaking after the massive defeat of Theresa May's Brexit deal in the House of Commons on Tuesday, the Rev Dr Richard Frazer said that a no deal Brexit would be 'reckless', adding that consensus needed to be built across the UK.

Tuesday's vote marked the biggest defeat ever for a sitting British government in history after being rejected by 230 votes. The outcome prompted Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to table a vote of no confidence in the Government, giving rise to the possibility of another general election.

Dr Frazer, who is convener of the Kirk's Church and Society Council, said: 'The Church of Scotland calls on the Westminster Parliament and UK Government to make a commitment not to withdraw from the EU without a comprehensive agreement in place.

'To do so would be reckless, not only in the short-term, and represents a loss of good faith with our closest neighbours on which we depend for our common good.'

'Reconciliation across our divided society needs a different approach, one in which we can take a deliberately slower and more thoughtful approach to discerning our future relationship with the EU.

'We need a much more respectful dialogue, one which is based on listening attentively rather than shouting louder.

'The Westminster Parliament and UK Government must work actively towards consensus in all parts of the UK about our future relationship with the EU and to use whatever mechanisms are necessary to create the time for this to happen.

'What we do, and how we do it, over these coming weeks will have an impact not just for the next few years but for generations to come.' 

Former Lib Dem leader and a member of Christians in Parliament, Tim Farron welcomed the defeat, saying it was a 'good result'. 

Ahead of the vote, he had tweeted his opposition, saying: 'Let our future not be one foisted on us by a stitch-up between the PM and Brussels. It's time to give the people the final say.'

Another member of Christians in Parliament, Gavin Shuker, MP for Luton South, also voiced his opposition.

He tweeted beforehand: 'Later today, May's Brexit deal will fall in the Commons. A failure to table a no confidence motion would be a huge betrayal tonight. An abdication of leadership; the act of someone trying dodge a People's Vote and run down the clock.'