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2nd Day

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) Bill – in the House of Commons at 8:41 pm on 11th September 2017.

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Photo of Hannah Bardell Hannah Bardell Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Trade and Investment) 8:41 pm, 11th September 2017

Mr Deputy Speaker:

“the Scottish Parliament, which adjourned on 25 March 1707, is hereby reconvened.”—[Scottish Parliament Official Report, 12 May 1999.]

Those were the words of Winifred Margaret Ewing, elected to the House of Commons 50 years ago this year, and more fondly known as Winnie and, to her EU friends, Madame Ecosse. To this day, Winnie is the only parliamentarian of these islands to have been a Member of the Scottish, British and European Parliaments, and she will be the only person who will hold that accolade.

It is almost 20 years today since Scotland said yes to a Scottish Parliament with devolved powers under a settlement that stated that everything was automatically devolved unless it was explicitly reserved. Despite what was said earlier, those powers were not notional. As the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, rightly said in her speech this morning, this Bill

“threatens the very principle on which our Parliament is founded”.

In its current form, the Bill is a reversal of devolution.

Although I am a pretty positive person, I am struggling to find light among the Brexit process. After a summer of meetings with businesses and trade bodies in my constituency and across Scotland and the UK, aimed at understanding their hopes and fears about Brexit, I find it hard to see good in any of it. The retail sector in my constituency employs a lot of EU nationals. Let me take the insurance and aviation sectors as an example.