“Creation of UK-wide frameworks

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:15 pm on 4th December 2017.

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Photo of Ian Blackford Ian Blackford SNP Westminster Leader 5:15 pm, 4th December 2017

I thank my right hon. and learned Friend, if I may call him that, for that intervention. I always listen carefully to what he has to say, and I think that, in some respects, he makes my point. Way back last December, the Scottish Government published a paper about achieving compromise, and that is the position we have always taken. We fully recognise that we have to get to a situation where we can compromise and where we need to have joint frameworks. The nub of this argument is where the powers should lie when they come back from the EU. It would be far better if they came back to the Scottish Parliament, so that we could agree a framework; as it is, the UK has grabbed the powers and is failing to discuss these matters adequately—not just with the Government in Edinburgh, but with the Government in Wales.

The Bill returns powers solely to the UK Government and Parliament, imposing new restrictions on devolved legislatures. Scotland is getting used to Labour and Tory politicians promising all sorts of things during referendums but never delivering them. It is astonishing that just three years ago the Conservative and Labour parties were telling the people of Scotland that the biggest threat to the economy and EU citizenship was an independent Scotland—“Vote no to protect the UK’s EU membership!” Let us think about that for a minute. Now we are losing our EU membership. The economy is already seeing the effects, inflation is up and the fall in the pound and living standards has been the consequence.

The reality is that Brexit is making us poorer before it even takes hold. Our prosperity is under threat. Meanwhile, the UK Government are attempting the biggest power grab since 1999.