Future Relationship Between the UK and the EU

Part of Domestic Gas and Electricity (Tariff Cap) Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:24 pm on 18th July 2018.

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Photo of Peter Grant Peter Grant Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Europe), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Exiting the European Union) 5:24 pm, 18th July 2018

Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. I am happy to refer the hon. Gentleman to the good reporters of Hansard, who, as we know, never make any mistakes when they record the decisions of this Parliament.

It was disappointing that the exchanges between the two main Front Benches tended to go into the nitty-gritty of customs and trade. It may be understandable, because that is where the battle lines have been drawn recently, but our relationship with the European Union is fundamentally about people.

Once again, the Front Benchers have not spoken enough about the millions of people who are currently living in one another’s countries as a matter of right, and who are seriously concerned about what their future will be. They have not yet spoken about the fact that in a few weeks, many of our great universities will welcome further waves of ambitious, talented young people from Europe and from other parts of the world who will feel that they are coming to a place that is less welcoming than it was a few years ago. The Government can deny it, and the Minister can shake his head, but people from other European countries who live here believe that they are less welcome now than they were before. Racism has been emboldened since the referendum in a way that it was not before.

I accept—I have accepted it for a while—that there is very little that is likely to happen that will prevent Brexit from happening. I am still hopeful that it can happen in a way that respects the will of the peoples of the four nations. I want to live in a country that sees itself as an equal of all others. I want to live in a country that is not only attractive to workers, students and visitors from all around the globe, but that welcomes them all with open arms and open doors. I will continue to live in such a country. At some point in the not too distant future, a decision will be taken as to whether that country remains part of the Union represented in this Parliament.