Uk’S Withdrawal from the EU

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:26 pm on 27th February 2019.

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Photo of Pete Wishart Pete Wishart Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Constitution), Chair, Scottish Affairs Committee, Shadow SNP Leader of the House of Commons, Chair, Scottish Affairs Committee 6:26 pm, 27th February 2019

I know that it is traditional in this House to say, “It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Gentleman,” but may I say that it is not a pleasure at all? I represent probably everything that he does not, and I will tell him something: I loathe Brexit—I truly, utterly loathe it. I hate the economically disastrous, isolating ugliness of the whole project. I particularly loathe the fact that the Government are prepared to take my beautiful, consensual, inclusive nation out of the European Union against its national collective will.

Just when we thought that this overwhelming, chaotic cluelessness could not get any worse, we have this week. I am trying to figure out what has happened this week. I hear all the warm remarks that somehow there is a bit of progress and that we are actually a few steps forward. My sense of what we have actually done is this: we are still going to leave, but just not on the day that we thought. We might have a no-deal Brexit, but it is very unlikely that no deal might extend to the 29th. We have not got a clue on what sort of basis the Government want to leave. They are hoping in vain that somehow the European Union will grant some sort of concession on the backstop. We have already heard from the French that they are not prepared to have an extension unless it is for a purpose. This is all for absolutely nothing. Their Brexit is breaking the country. It is now starting to break the UK political parties, and it is well on its way to consuming this Government, too.

This is perhaps the greatest post-war political disaster in our politics. It will be remembered as the single greatest failure of any British Government, and let us remember that it is exclusively a Tory Brexit, almost laughingly designed to try to resolve the differences about Europe in the Government’s own party. Not only has it further divided their rotten party, but it has divided a nation and taken it to the brink. It is they that initiated, designed and administered it. It will define them for decades to come. This chaos will be their legacy.

The Government have driven us along this Brexit road with all the guile of Wile E. Coyote with an Acme rocket strapped to his back. Now the road is running out and that final boulder is about to come crashing down on their head, yet they say that I have to support their Brexit. They say that if I do not support it, I risk a no-deal Brexit and all the chaos that will bring. I will never support their Brexit. I will never accept my country getting taken out against its will. I will not support anything that makes my constituents poorer. I will not support the end of freedom of movement, which will decimate businesses in my constituency and stop population growth in my country. I will never, ever accept the fact that the rights that I enjoyed to live, to work, to love across a continent will be denied to future generations of young people. I will never, ever accept that. We have tabled an amendment to revoke the whole ugly business. This madness must end. We have had our chance. I know that our amendment (g) cannot be debated because it has been signed by only 12 Members, but I bet that if it were put to the public just now, it would be about the most popular option in this country, just to end this madness.

However, Scotland has a way out. We can get off the sinking ship. At some point, the question will have to be put to the Scottish people: do you want to be part of this doomed Brexit deal, or do you want to be an independent nation, making its own way in the world? Imagine if all we could aspire to as a nation was Brexit Britain. Scotland deserves much better than that, and when Scotland gets that opportunity and that chance, Scotland will take advantage of it, and we will be that independent nation—an independent nation within the European Union.