European Union Citizenship

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:18 pm on 7th March 2018.

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Photo of Stephen Gethins Stephen Gethins Shadow SNP Spokesperson (International Affairs and Europe) 3:18 pm, 7th March 2018

The hon. Gentleman makes a good point, and it is why today’s debate on associate citizenship is so important and why I am so glad it has been brought forward.

I will talk a little about Scotland’s own experiences—you will be well aware of this, Madam Deputy Speaker. This idea of European citizenship is not a new concept that arose in the 1970s; it is a historical one. It is said that in 1295 Scots looked at the idea of dual citizenship with the French as part of the auld alliance. If we go down the Corridors through to the House of Lords, we see the English Tudor monarchs on the wall, along with the Scots Tudor monarchs, some of whom were French—the Dauphin of France at that time is up on the wall there. If we look at the rights of Scots traders as citizens in places such as Veere in the Netherlands, we see that a former Member of this House, Winnie Ewing, was the honorary conservator of the privileges of the Scottish staple of Veere back in the day. Going back even further, to the letter of Lubeck, we see that the first thing that William Wallace did after the battle of Stirling bridge and Scottish independence was to get back in touch with our European partners, because this idea of citizenship—this idea of working together and that Scotland is a European nation—does not go back just to the 1970s; it goes back many hundreds of years. I will move on from that point, but I encourage Members to read and listen to the works of my constituent Billy Kay, who has been excellent on the impact of the Scottish diaspora elsewhere in Europe.