An open letter calling for #brexit to be halted has been signed by over 60 of Scotland’s leading public figures who say it will be “disastrous”. The letter calls for a new national debate and a rethink on brexit.

Signatories include former first minister Henry McLeish and former NATO general secretary Baron Robertson.

Here is the letter, as published in The Herald:

WE come from a broad range of sectors across our society – business, education, law, politics, public services, unions, NGOs and more.

We see our society, economy and politics becoming ever more undermined due to the impact of Brexit. We recognise that a narrow majority voted to leave the European Union, but the disastrous consequences are now becoming ever clearer – every day. Even before the UK has left the EU, we face falling living standards, rising inflation, slowing growth and lower productivity.

Our international reputation has been seriously damaged, leaving the UK weak, with diminished influence, in an increasingly uncertain and unstable world. EU citizens who have made a huge social and economic contribution to our society have been left in profound uncertainty – many have already left, many more are considering leaving. UK citizens elsewhere in the EU are in an unacceptable limbo too.

In a democracy, it is always possible to think again and to choose a different direction. We need to think again about Brexit, to have a UK-wide debate about calling a halt to the process and changing our minds. The UK has been a major and influential actor in Europe and can be again. We need to have a debate about how to build a better, fairer, more equal society. Then we will be in a position to contribute to an EU-wide debate on creating a fairer, more equal Europe.

We call for a national debate on Brexit. We ask our fellow citizens, and our politicians, to think again. It is time to call a halt to Brexit.

Professor David Bell, Stirling Management School, University of Stirling; Andrew Bolger, former Scotland Correspondent, Financial Times; Professor Christina Boswell, School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh; Professor Sir Harry Burns, Professor of Global Public Health, University of Strathclyde; The Rt Hon Lord Campbell of Pittenweem CH CBE PC QC; Dr Chad Damro, University of Edinburgh; Professor Emeritus Sir Tom Devine, University of Edinburgh; Christine De Luca, poet; Dr Richard Dixon, Director, Friends of the Earth Scotland; Sir David Edward, Professor Emeritus Edinburgh University Law School and former ECJ Judge; John Edward, Former Head of European Parliament Office in Scotland/Former EU Policy Manager, Scotland Europa; Colin Imrie, European policy analyst; Maria Fletcher, Director of Scottish Universities Legal Network on Europe (SULNE); Lord Foulkes of Cumnock; Dr Peter Geoghegan, University of the West of Scotland; Gwilym Gibbons Creative Help Ltd; Dame Anne Glover, Vice Principal for External Affairs and Dean for Europe, University of Aberdeen; Vanessa Glynn, Chair, European Movement in Scotland; David Gow, Editor, Sceptical Scot, Editor, Social Europe; Dr Eve Hepburn, Chief Executive, Fearless Femme CIC; David Hood, Director, Edinburgh Institute for Collaborative & Competitive Advantage; Dr Kirsty Hughes, Director, Scottish Centre on European Relations; Helen Hunter Education Officer (retired); Helen Kay M.A., M.Sc.; Stefan G Kay OBE; Patricia Kelly, retired teacher; Lord Kerr of Kinlochard GCMG; Mark Lazarowicz, former Labour MP 2001 – 2015, Edinburgh North; Graham Leicester, International Futures Forum (in a personal capacity); Baroness Liddell of Coatdyke, former Secretary of State Scotland and former High Commissioner to Australia; Dr John MacDonald, Director of the Scottish Global Forum and editor of CABLE magazine; Gordon Macintyre-Kemp, Author and chief executive, Business for Scotland; Dame Mariot Leslie; David Martin, MEP; Monica Martins, Managing Director, WomenBeing Project; Marilyne MacLaren, retired politician and educationalist; Rt Hon Henry McLeish, former First Minister; Maggie Mellon, former executive board, Women for Independence and social work consultant; Professor Steve Murdoch, University of St Andrews; Isobel Murray, Professor Emeritus Modern Scottish Literature, Aberdeen University; Dr Kath Murray, Criminal Justice Researcher; Andrew Ormston, Director of Drew Wylie Projects; Alex Orr, Managing Director, Orbit Communications (in a personal capacity); Robert Palmer [email protected]; Ray Perman, author and journalist; Willis Pickard, former editor TES Scotland and Rector, Aberdeen University; Dr Janet Powney, consultant in education and evaluation research; Lesley Riddoch, journalist and broadcaster; Ian Ritchie, software entrepreneur; Baron Robertson of Port Ellen, KT, former Secretary of State for Defence, former Secretary General, Nato; Bill Rodger, Treasurer, European Movement in Scotland; Anthony Salamone, Research Fellow and Strategic Adviser, Scottish Centre on European Relations; Prof. Andrew Scott, University of Edinburgh; Anne Scott, Secretary, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Scottish Branch; Peter K. Sellar Advocate, Axiom Advocates Faculty of Advocates, Edinburgh; Prof. Jo Shaw, University of Edinburgh; Dr Kirsteen Shields, Lecturer in Public Law, University of Dundee; Martin Sime, Chief Executive, SCVO; Alyn Smith, MEP; Grahame Smith, General Secretary STUC; Professor Michael E. Smith, Professor of International Relations, University of Aberdeen; Prof Chris Smout, Historiographer Royal of Scotland and Emeritus Professor, University of St Andrews; Struan Stevenson, former MEP and European Movement in Scotland Vice-President; Lord Wallace of Tankerness, Liberal Democrat peer and former Deputy First Minister; Sir Graham Watson, former President of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party (ALDE Party), former MEP; Dr Geoffrey Whittam, Reader, Glasgow Caledonian University; Fay Young, Director of a digital media company, c/o 3 Fettes Row, Edinburgh.

The letter comes as the second round of EU negotiations are underway in Brussels. The main topics are citizen rights, money owed and the Northern Ireland border.