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 will take no more interventions from people whose position on the European Union has changed so radically over the past couple of years.

Returning to the attempt to grab power back from the devolved Parliaments that so many of us worked so hard to establish, many of those who take the greatest credit for their establishment, such as the great Donald Dewar, are not here to see the success of what they created, and I shudder to think what they would have thought of these attempts completely to emasculate all three devolved Parliaments.

We are seeing a betrayal of the promises—one could almost say the “vow”—that certain people made to the people of Scotland just three years ago: the most powerful devolved Parliament in the world, they said; Scotland should lead the Union, they said; parity of esteem and an equal partnership of nations, they said. What definition are they using if the Prime Minister, who takes her authority from this Parliament, decides it is beneath her status even to meet the First Ministers, who take their authority from their respective national Parliaments? What definition of “equality” or “parity of esteem” are the Government using? Where is the parity of esteem if the Joint Ministerial Committee, trumpeted by the Tories less than a year ago as the epitome of good relations between our four national Governments, has not met for seven months. I note, however, that, completely coincidental to an attempt by my hon. Friend Ian Blackford to have an urgent debate on the matter, the Government have now decided they are going to reconvene the JMC at some time in the autumn. I hope they will not fall back on the claim that autumn finishes on 30 November. I welcome the fact that they have given way to some pressure and are now going to reconvene the JMC, but the fact is they have done nothing, even ignoring a request for a meeting by the national Governments of Wales and Scotland, which they had promised to act on within one month. They broke that promise, as they have broken so many other promises to the peoples, Parliaments and Governments of those devolved nations.