Power to notify withdrawal from the EU

Part of European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:15 pm on 13th March 2017.

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Photo of Stephen Gethins Stephen Gethins Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Europe) 5:15 pm, 13th March 2017

The hon. Gentleman makes my point for me: the Scottish Government are looking to protect Scotland’s relationship with Europe, and, what is more, if EU nationals are as important to Conservative Members as they are to us, they will vote with us tonight, to give them the certainty they need and deserve. I look forward to the hon. Gentleman joining me in the Lobby.

EU nationals who have made Scotland and the rest of the UK their home contribute much: they make this a better place in which to live and work, and they make our communities better. These are people with families and jobs. If the Conservatives care so much about them —and to give these people certainty—there is something very simple they can do: they can join us in the Lobby tonight, for a change. The House of Lords has given them another opportunity.

This goes to the heart of the question of the kind of country—[Interruption.] Conservative Members would do well to listen to the point being made this time. This goes to the heart of the question of the kind of country in which we would like to live. Do we want to live in a country that is open and inclusive, working in co-operation and collaboration with our European partners, or in a UK that is increasingly isolated in Europe and abroad? It now seems like this is a choice that people in Scotland are going to get.

Today, we are sitting on the edge of the abyss with this vote; the question is whether or not Scotland is going to be taken into the abyss with this Tory Government. I am glad that SNP Members have an alternative, and the alternative is clear. It is one that respects the will of the people of Scotland, that seeks to work with our partners on these islands and across Europe, and that will allow us to prosper as an equal and normal partner in the international community of nations. Therefore, we will be opposing the Government tonight.