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Article 50

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:50 pm on 29th March 2017.

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Photo of Angus Robertson Angus Robertson Deputy Leader, Scottish National Party, Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader 12:50 pm, 29th March 2017

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

We on the SNP Benches have become accustomed to the views of Conservative Members as being incapable of understanding that the people of Scotland voted to remain in the European Union. The Prime Minister promised—[Interruption.] Do hon. Gentlemen and hon. Ladies on the Conservative Benches understand that we have televisions in Scotland and that viewers in Scotland can see the discourtesy from hon. Members on those Benches? They do not like to hear it but listen they must.

The Prime Minister promised an agreement. There is no agreement. She has broken her word. As Scotland’s Members of Parliament, we have been sent here with a mandate to stand up for the people of Scotland. It is a mandate that the Prime Minister does not enjoy. Fifty-eight out of 59 MPs from Scotland voted against triggering article 50. The Scottish Parliament voted against the triggering of article 50. The Scottish Government were against the triggering of article 50 before an agreement. Yet what have this Government done? They have carried on blithely ignoring the views of people in Scotland and its democratically elected representatives. Europe is watching the way that this Government treat parts of the United Kingdom that voted to remain with Europe.

The UK Government had a mandate to hold a Brexit referendum. We accept that, and we accept the leave result in the rest of the United Kingdom. In that context—[Interruption.] Again, Conservative Members do not seem to understand that the United Kingdom is a multinational state with four nations, two of which voted to stay and two of which voted to leave. All the rhetoric from the Government Benches does not paper over the gaping chasm showing that there is not unity in this so-called United Kingdom on this issue.

As democrats, we should all accept that the Scottish Government have a mandate, given by the people of Scotland in an election, whereby we should have a choice after the negotiations have concluded, and this should not be kicked into the long grass and that democratic choice denied. Yesterday the Scottish Parliament voted by 69 to 59 that people in Scotland should have that choice. Will the Prime Minister confirm that she will recognise the democratic right of the people to make their own choice after negotiations have concluded?

The Prime Minister says that she thinks that Brexit will bring unity to the United Kingdom. It will not. On this issue, it is not a United Kingdom, and the Prime Minster needs to respect—respect—the differences across the nations of the United Kingdom. If she does not—if she remains intransigent and if she denies Scotland a choice on our future—she will make Scottish independence inevitable. [Interruption.]