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I want to make some progress, but I will happily take interventions later.
The Prime Minister’s gamble backfired. She has desperately clung to power—at least for now—and stumbled into the Brexit negotiations on Monday morning regardless, with an almost all-male team equipped with no credible plan, no mandate and, seemingly, no functional Government. I can see that the Prime Minister is floundering. Where is the stable government that she promised us? It is not here.
It is worth reflecting on the fact that last year’s Queen’s Speech was delivered just one month before the nations of the United Kingdom voted on whether to remain a member of the European Union. In that referendum, Scotland voted clearly and decisively to remain in the European Union. Northern Ireland, too, voted to remain in the European Union. England and Wales, of course, voted to leave. There was a democratic divergence across the UK.
I had hoped that a compromise might be found that would work for all nations of the United Kingdom. Indeed, the Prime Minister herself said that article 50 would not be triggered until there was a UK approach and that she was willing to listen to all options. That is why last year the Scottish Government, in good faith and in a spirit of compromise, published proposals in “Scotland’s Place in Europe”. Those are credible proposals that would mitigate the worst impacts of a hard Brexit. They would maintain the UK’s membership of the single market while it leaves the EU or, failing that, maintain Scotland’s membership of the single market within the United Kingdom.