European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:36 pm on 29th January 2019.

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Photo of Ian Blackford Ian Blackford SNP Westminster Leader 3:36 pm, 29th January 2019

That is correct, and it is little surprise, because the European institutions show respect to the people of Scotland, which this Government do not.

The Prime Minister promised that a no vote would see Scotland’s future as an equal partner, but we now see Westminster taking powers off the Scottish Parliament against the wishes of the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish people. [Interruption.] I should not do this, but I will. I hear from a sedentary position Stephen Kerr saying, “What powers?” Obviously he has forgotten that he voted for the withdrawal Act, which interfered with the powers of the Scottish Parliament laid down in the Scotland Act—powers over fishing, powers over the environment and powers over agriculture. The Tories sat back and allowed the Scottish Parliament to be emasculated. The 13 Scottish Tories acted against the interests of the people of Scotland, as they have done time and again.

The Westminster campaign against Scottish independence said that high street banks were making plans to leave Scotland, yet now, because of this Government’s Brexit, Standard Life Aberdeen is setting up a hub in Dublin, and Lloyds Bank is looking at a Berlin base.

Even last week during Prime Minister’s questions, the Prime Minister tried to tell me to drop the SNP policy of independence, yet in June 2017 the leader of the Scottish Tories, Ruth Davidson, said:

“Let me be clear: nobody, not me, not anyone, is expecting the SNP to give up on independence. That’s what it believes in &
it’s a perfectly honourable position to take.”

It is a perfectly honourable position to take.

Let me be very clear: Scotland must no longer be left at the mercy of events. Whatever happens here, the SNP will not be dropping its policy of independence. Whatever turmoil and hardship this Tory Government try to drag our nation through, Scotland will and must have the right to determine its own future and to choose to be an independent nation within the European Union. I can see Members shaking their heads. They are shaking their heads because they are running scared. Like the Prime Minister, they fear they would lose an independence referendum. The Scottish people are sick and tired of being told what the Prime Minister wants them to do. Scotland’s needs are much more important than what the Prime Minister wants. Scotland needs the power to take its own decisions. That is the only way we can stop the Tories driving us off the cliff edge and into disaster.