It is crucial that the House has the opportunity to extend article 50 on Thursday, because we have to take back control from this shambles of a Government.
We are 18 days away from the scheduled UK exit from the EU, yet the Government still have no plan to protect jobs and living standards. This Prime Minister is guilty of neglect. She has proved incapable of governance, incapable of negotiation and utterly incapable of leadership. The truth is that the politics of the United Kingdom has become a farce. The lack of leadership from either the Tory or the Labour party has left people across the country at a loss, panicking about their futures and abandoned by their so called leaders.
This morning, Downing Street exclaimed that tomorrow’s vote would go ahead, and the Minister has repeated that. It must happen, and it is welcome, because to dither and delay yet again would be another act of grave cowardice. We cannot ignore the facts: this place is in total chaos, and the crisis engulfing the United Kingdom is deepening. In Scotland, businesses, students, farmers, academics, mothers, fathers and EU nationals are rightly worried about their futures, but this Government, this Tory party and this Prime Minister could not care less about the people of Scotland. This deal will damage our economy, destroy growth and deprive Scottish people of all the cherished opportunities that the European Union has gifted us.
Michel Barnier was very clear: the negotiations are over. He said:
“We talked all weekend and now the discussions, the negotiations, are between the government in London and the parliament in London.”
Can the Minister answer these questions? Will the Government back the Prime Minister’s deal tomorrow? Will the text of the motion on which we shall vote provide for a new arrangement in relation to the Northern Ireland backstop? Has the Prime Minister negotiated with the European Union new protections for the Scottish economy? If not, are the Scottish MPs in her party ready to resign? Scotland did not vote for Brexit, and we must not be dragged out of the European Union against our will. The sovereign right of the Scottish people to choose our own future must be respected. We are, and we will remain, a European nation.