[6th Allotted Day]

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) Act – in the House of Commons at 5:00 pm on 10th January 2019.

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Photo of Stewart McDonald Stewart McDonald Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Defence) 5:00 pm, 10th January 2019

I will confine my remarks to the issue at hand.

The current constitutional arrangement forbids Scotland from interacting on an equal footing either with our neighbours in the rest of the UK or, indeed, with the other nations of the European Union. We in Scotland can see it every day, whether the hon. Gentleman likes it or not—we see the cost to Scotland of not being an independent country and member of the European Union. Instead, we are locked in a Union that has little appetite to take Scotland’s interests into account. Nobody is buying the empty platitudes of the “plucky Brits” that once struck a chord at home and abroad. This is the stuff of white noise and it makes us a laughing stock in the capitals of Europe.

I do not want this miserable deal imposed on Scotland, but I also do not want it imposed on the people of the rest of the United Kingdom. It is solipsistic; it is isolationist; and at times it is even capricious—I want nothing to do with it. The deal puts us on a devastating path, as the security landscape across the continent and the wider world is ever more complex. So I will not vote for a deal that discards our security needs—needs that the Government fail to take seriously.

The day when we were originally due to vote on the deal, 11 December, marked five years since the then Yanukovych Government in Ukraine opened fire on young protesters in Maidan Square who wanted to join the European Union. How perverse that this sorry Government would ask us to vote to leave that European Union on the day that marked five years from when the so-called “heavenly hundred” were killed by their own Government for wishing to join the European Union.

I say this to progressives around the UK: Scotland has stood by you since Brexit was voted for in 2016. When Scotland finally—finally—regains its independence and seeks to join the European Union as an independent member state, I say to our progressive friends around the UK: just as we stood by you, we want you to stand with us.