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

I can only assume that the hon. Lady was not listening to what I said, because the fundamental fact is that we were promised that we would stay in the European Union.

What the Tories find very difficult to accept is that when the Scottish National party went to the people of Scotland, we asked in our manifesto for the right to go back to the people of Scotland if there was a material change of circumstances, and that is exactly the position we are in today. There is a majority in the Scottish Parliament for a referendum on Scottish independence, yet what we hear from the Conservatives is, “Now is not the time”, disrespecting the mandate that the people of Scotland gave to their elected parliamentarians. I will say this to the Conservative Benches: if our First Minister calls for a section 30 authority, based on democracy, then this House must respect the will of the Scottish people through their elected parliamentarians.

That is the only way to stop the punitive cuts from universal credit and amend the hostile environment that sends talented workers away from our shores. The vote on the immigration Bill is just the latest indication of Westminster voting against Scotland’s national interest. We embrace free movement of people. We welcome those who choose to make a future for themselves in Scotland. We thank those who wish to add to our cultural diversity. This place wants to slam the door shut, pull up the drawbridge and retreat into isolation.

We watch the official Opposition go through trials and tribulations about whether they should oppose a narrow-minded immigration policy from this Government. Labour has lost its moral compass. Then we have the Scots Tory MPs meekly going through the Lobbies. Theresa’s Lobby fodder are supporting legislation that will damage Scottish industries and our public services, and damage Scotland’s ability to attract labour and to grow our economy. The Scottish Tories are acting against our national interest, and Labour is stuck on the sidelines.

A majority of MSPs and Scottish MPs returned at the last two elections support holding an independence referendum in the circumstances in which we find ourselves. Scotland will not be ignored. The UK Government have ignored the views of the people of Scotland. Our Parliament—our Scottish Parliament—has already overwhelmingly rejected the Prime Minister’s deal. Today, SNP MPs will vote in support of that mandate from Scotland’s Parliament, and we will continue to vote down the blindfold Brexit deal that will drive our economy off the cliff edge.

There are just 59 days to go until Brexit day, and the deal on the table is done; it has been dead in the water for months, yet the Prime Minister is still seeking to run down the clock and push that deal through this House. That is incredibly reckless and risky. How can she be allowed to behave in such a manner? She has no hope of controlling this House; she cannot even control her disunited party. If anyone is still in any doubt about it, we are in this mess today because Conservative Members gambled our economic future over a decade-long internal feud in the Tory party. They should all hang their head in shame. Quite simply, that party is not fit to govern, because it has a track record of putting its fractured party interests before the national interest—not what the Prime Minister calls the national interest, but the interest of all the nations that make up the UK.