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[2nd day]

Part of European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill – in the House of Commons at 3:54 pm on 1st February 2017.

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Photo of Michelle Thomson Michelle Thomson Independent, Edinburgh West 3:54 pm, 1st February 2017

There has been a lot of Sturm und Drang around this debate over the past couple of days. I will try to reflect how I feel about it. I have a sense of disbelief and despair at the decision that is about to be made, and significant doubt in the abilities of those who seek to give voice to my constituents in going any way towards meeting their needs. Let us be clear: 71% of my constituents in Edinburgh West voted to remain.

The Scottish National party’s reasoned amendment is backed by many of my constituents, the vast majority of whom voted against independence in our independence referendum and many of whom are not SNP supporters. To a man and to a woman, they are writing to me, saying, “If this goes ahead, I am firmly in favour of taking the next steps to protect my business, my child who wants to go through Erasmus, and my ability to travel, work and live freely within Europe.” How strongly we feel about the matter in Scotland—for those in and without the SNP—is fundamental.

This is not just about economics, although stepping away from that matter is, incidentally, a vast collective madness. The philosophy of Europe as a unifier to protect against the sort of madness and rhetoric we hear from Trump—racist, misogynistic and protectionist—is a fundamental for me. So, yes, I feel disbelief. With every breath in my body, I am going to ensure that Scotland can continue to access the single market.