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Leaving the Eu: Negotiations

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:07 pm on 10th July 2018.

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Photo of John Lamont John Lamont Conservative, Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk 3:07 pm, 10th July 2018

The voters made their decision for a variety of reasons, as voters always do in every election. The fact that some people do not like the conclusion that they reached does not mean that we can simply reject that decision and say that we need to rerun the vote. My experience in my own constituency is that people who voted to leave in 2016 are just as committed to voting to leave again if the question were put again. Indeed, many voters in Scotland, such is their fear of a second referendum to break up the United Kingdom and their feeling that their remain vote has been used by the nationalists as a mandate for a second referendum on independence, may well vote to leave the European Union to try to shut down Nicola Sturgeon and those nationalist pursuits.

Referendums are divisive and distracting, and a rerun of the vote would simply pile on the economic uncertainty. Businesses in Scotland, already faced with the possibility of another vote to drag Scotland out of our biggest market, that of the United Kingdom, would then also be unsure about whether we would actually be leaving the European Union.

Why is the threat to Scottish business of a second independence referendum so great? Growth in Scotland is not expected to rise by more than 1% before 2023. In 2017, Scotland’s GDP grew at half the rate of GDP in the United Kingdom. Why is that? Why is Scotland lagging behind the rest of the United Kingdom? Brexit creates uncertainty, but another independence referendum would simply add to that. If the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish National party get their way, Scottish business will see untold levels of uncertainty: uncertainty about another referendum on whether we remain part of the European Union, and uncertainty about another referendum on whether Scotland remains a key part of the United Kingdom. Why can the Scottish Liberal Democrats—led by Willie Rennie MSP—see how damaging and divisive a rerun of a referendum is, while their colleagues in this place cannot?