European Union (Withdrawal) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:53 pm on 7th September 2017.

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Photo of Peter Grant Peter Grant Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Europe), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Exiting the European Union) 1:53 pm, 7th September 2017

I commend Mr Clarke and, in particular, the shadow Secretary of State, Keir Starmer, for their two outstanding contributions.

This Bill, and the whole Brexit process, not only gives us an opportunity but requires us to go right back and think fundamentally about what Parliament is for and what democracy is about. The Scottish National party supports as a fundamental principle the ancient and honoured tradition that sovereignty over the land of Scotland is inalienably vested in the people of Scotland. That principle is not for sale now, or at any time, to anybody.

This Bill seeks to usurp and undermine that sovereignty in a number of ways, which I will mention later. That fact alone compels me to vote against the Bill on Monday night, and it compels anybody who believes in the sovereignty of the people of Scotland, and anybody who purports to be here on their behalf, to oppose the Bill on Monday night, regardless of the party that is trying to get them to do something different.

As it is Labour’s reasoned amendment that has been selected, we will be supporting it on Monday night with some reservations. First, given that 62% of our citizens voted to remain in the European Union, I am certainly not ready to give up on that for the people I represent. I fully understand and respect the fact that two nations of the United Kingdom voted to leave, but I ask the Members of Parliament from those two nations to respect the fact that the other two nations voted to remain and that their votes cannot simply be cast aside.

Secondly, the reasoned amendment refers to parliamentary sovereignty. I respect that that is an important principle for some people, but it does not apply universally across the nations of these islands.