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 find that remarkable. There we have a threat to the people of Scotland from a Conservative Member. I thought we believed in free trade. We are not talking about barriers to trade with the island of Ireland, so why on earth would there be barriers to trade with Scotland? It is about time the Conservatives stopped threatening the people of Scotland, because that is exactly what they are doing.

It is demoralising to sit here today listening to the merry-go-round of Tory infighting and Labour fence-sitting. There is no leadership from these two parties. I genuinely feel for those across the UK who voted for the Tories and Labour and have been so badly let down. Now their cowardice threatens us all: our livelihoods, yes, but also our culture and communities and the type of society we could be. Our cultural ties with Europe run deep throughout Scotland. The auld alliance is perhaps the best known of Scotland’s ancient ties. France and Scotland enjoy deep cultural ties and have agreed a mutual cultural statement of intent, which the Scottish Government signed in 2013. We share a rich Celtic history of story-telling and traditional music and a great love of piping.

Such was the wealth of intellectual exchange between Scotland and Europe that in Kirkwall’s library in the 1680s there were books from Amsterdam, Kraków, Brussels Rostock, Paris, Leipzig and dozens of other places. Our relationship with Germany dates back to 1297, when William Wallace wrote to the martyrs of Lübeck and Hamburg declaring Scotland open for business. In case Members are unaware, immigration was around long before the EU and will be around long after. It is, after all, a global phenomenon.