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[1st Day]

Part of Debate on the Address – in the House of Commons at 4:20 pm on 21st June 2017.

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Photo of Ian Blackford Ian Blackford SNP Westminster Leader 4:20 pm, 21st June 2017

Thank you, Mr Speaker. I hope that new Members will appreciate your sage advice.

There is an important point here. A failed Conservative candidate is being elevated to the House of Lords and standing down from his position in the European Parliament, and the Conservatives seem to want to appoint to the European Parliament someone who was fifth on their list. [Hon. Members: “They’re getting sued.”] They are getting sued by one of their own members. It is a very strange approach to democracy from the Scottish Conservatives.

Membership of the single market could not be more important for Scotland. It contains eight of our top 12 export destinations, supports 300,000 jobs in Scotland and contributes more than £11 billion to our economy. A hard Brexit would severely damage Scotland’s economic, social and cultural interests and hit jobs and living standards deeply and permanently. That is why we are determined to avoid it—and that is true for the United Kingdom as well.

The Prime Minister must now reflect on the fact that her party stood on a platform of a hard Brexit that has been roundly rejected by the electorate. There is no mandate for a hard Brexit. It is the Scottish Government’s compromise approach that has been endorsed by the Scottish Parliament and now by the people of Scotland as a manifesto commitment at the general election. My message to the Prime Minister is simple: it is time to listen. It is time to get back around the table with the devolved Governments of the United Kingdom and work out a compromise that works for all in the United Kingdom and avoids the devastating damage that a hard Brexit would cause.