Exiting the European Union: Meaningful Vote

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:24 pm on 11th December 2018.

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Photo of Martin Docherty Martin Docherty Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Industries of the Future and Blockchain Technologies) 4:24 pm, 11th December 2018

Well, Mr Speaker, what a day!

Since 1992, when I first entered politics on the old Clydebank District Council, I never thought for a moment not only that I would sit here representing one of the greatest constituencies in these islands, but that I would listen to Members on the Government Benches—with the exception of Anna Soubry, I must admit—threaten the Democratic Unionist party with a united Ireland. That is a way to win friends and influence people. Then there was the position yesterday on the Floor of the House of Commons when the vote was pulled. Parliamentary democracy might as well have ended with a coup d'état by the Government of the United Kingdom. It is an extraordinary position when the Executive fundamentally undermine the authority of the legislator. Anyone here who has not read a single book on political theory might as well go and read one now, because that is where we are in terms of the democratic deficit in this political state.

It may come as no surprise that Scottish National party Members have been consistent in our support for the single market and the customs union, rather than making back-door deals like others. I think that even the official Opposition have approached members of the DUP, who do seem to be winning friends and influencing people. Good luck to them. They at least received the offer of a backstop; we did not, although we voted overwhelmingly to remain, and not only in my own constituency. I have no doubt about supporting remain, given that the industrial working class of West Dunbartonshire voted overwhelmingly for it, but they also voted for their country to be an independent sovereign nation with a family of European nations.

Then there is the very idea that we should be joining the European economic area— the Norway plus plus plus plus/TK Maxx model. I was reading Fintan O’Toole in The Irish Times this morning. He explained that the EEA is not just about Norway, and told us that we must not forget the Grand Duchy of Liechtenstein. He wrote that

“the Liechtenstein constitution…
grants a veto over all laws to His Serene Highness Hans-Adam II, Prince of Liechtenstein”.

There may be some in this place who would want to hand it over to him—an unelected, unaccountable hereditary absolute monarch—but I do not.

I say to the Leader of the Opposition, “Do us all a favour and table a motion of no confidence”, because I have every confidence that my constituency will not only vote for the Scottish National party but vote to remain in the European Union—and the time may come for my nation to take its place once again as an independent sovereign country.