EU Withdrawal Agreement

Part of Bill Presented – in the House of Commons at 2:09 pm on 18th December 2018.

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Photo of Ian Blackford Ian Blackford SNP Westminster Leader 2:09 pm, 18th December 2018

I am going to make progress, and I am not going to take any more interventions, as I have been generous with my time.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister told us she was planning for a no-deal Brexit. Prime Minister, there cannot be no deal; it must be removed from the table. It would be economically catastrophic. This Government must remove no deal from the table, instead of using it as gun to hold to MPs heads. We were promised “strong and stable”. The people were promised that we would take back control. This is a party and a Government completely out of control. I look around this Chamber at colleagues and friends, and perhaps some who would call themselves foes, but in common we came here to serve. I came here to serve Scotland—my people and my country. It devastates me to see the will of my people disregarded by this UK Government. It angers me to see my Parliament in Scotland—our Parliament in Scotland—our First Minister and her Cabinet locked out by this Tory Government from decisions that will affect the rights and lives of people right across our country. It is not right, and Members from other parts will feel the same. I know that England and Wales voted to leave, but what about the rest of us who voted to stay? So much for the union of equals that we were promised.

The Scottish National party will work with others to protect all of the UK from Brexit. That is the right thing to do. We will work constructively in the House, but our first priority as the Scottish National party is to stand up for Scotland. It is becoming ever clearer that Scotland is being hampered by its continuance in the United Kingdom. We do not co-exist in a partnership of equals. With every day that passes, the Government are making the case for Scottish independence. The UK Government’s behaviour over the continuity Bill, exposed this week by the UK Supreme Court, shows the utter contempt with which they are treating Scotland. With the UK Government’s approach to Brexit in complete and utter chaos, it is no wonder the Scottish Parliament does not trust Westminster to prepare our laws for life after Brexit. Of course, when there was the outrageous power grab of the powers of the Scottish Parliament, not one Scottish Tory MP stood up to defend the rights of our Parliament, for which the people of Scotland voted in 1997. They voted against Scotland’s interests: history repeating itself once again.

We get from the Government empty, meaningless words—that is all we can expect from them—and now those words are not worth the paper they are transcribed on, as promise after promise is broken by the UK Government. It is time we had our say and got our answers. I am sorry he is not present, but let me put it to the Leader of the Opposition again: table a vote of no confidence in this Government. We are with you. It is clear today that the gimmick motion has failed, but I say to the Leader of the Opposition: table the correct motion and do it today. The SNP stands ready to end this farce—to end this shambles. We are ready to defeat this Tory Government and a damaging Brexit. This Tory Government want to put Scottish workers on the dole through Brexit. The question for the Leader of the Opposition is whether he is prepared to stand up—[Interruption.]