2nd Day

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) Bill – in the House of Commons at 4:31 pm on 11th September 2017.

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Photo of Stephen Gethins Stephen Gethins Shadow SNP Spokesperson (International Affairs and Europe) 4:31 pm, 11th September 2017

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the referendum on re-establishing the Scottish Parliament—not just “notionally” re-establishing it, I should point out to Mr Jenkin. I voted in that referendum having just returned from the Erasmus programme. The re-establishment of the Scottish Parliament was backed by most of Scotland’s parties—certainly by its progressive parties. Today we are about to see the biggest devolution power grab since that re-establishment, and it that will have an impact on the devolution process the likes of which we have never seen before. As someone who returned from Erasmus to vote in the referendum 20 years ago, I have been reflecting on the impact that this process will have on opportunities for young people, among others.

Zac Goldsmith rightly highlighted the benefits of European Union membership. It has benefited our rights; it has enabled us to build a broad consensus on the need to tackle environmental problems such as climate change; it has benefited universities; and it has torn down trade barriers. Tonight we will vote on a Bill that will take powers away from Holyrood and undermine the devolution process, and that is something that we cannot thole.