European Union (Withdrawal) Act

Part of Business of the House (Today) – in the House of Commons at 3:32 pm on 12th March 2019.

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Photo of Ian Blackford Ian Blackford SNP Westminster Leader 3:32 pm, 12th March 2019

No, I must make some progress.

Once again, we listen to Conservative voices argue that we must leave our European destiny behind. I cannot countenance why we would leave behind those shared values and common endeavours. Our countries have come out of conflict and war and have come together. Our communities have thrived in times of peace. Collaboration and co-operation with our neighbours is delivering a new world of opportunity for all our citizens.

Despite the theatre of this place, where we poke and jar at each other, in truth today is painful, and I am deeply sad that we have reached this point of complete crisis. In homes across the United Kingdom our families, friends and communities are watching. In Amsterdam, Brussels, Berlin, Madrid, Dublin and Paris—I could go on—our friends and neighbours are watching. What must they be thinking? The historic achievement of the European project is unravelling, and for what? To replace partnership and stability with isolation and chaos.

Let us not beat about the bush: this battle began in the Tory party, and there it should have stayed. Euro- scepticism festered and consumed Tory Members and their party for decades until David Cameron rolled the dice, and where is he now? After he opened the box and spilled the Tory war on to the streets across the country, he abdicated all responsibility. The historical internal Conservative divisions have now divided the United Kingdom, and today Members must decide whether they will also abdicate responsibility and roll the dice, or whether they will act in the interests of their constituents by stopping the greatest act of self-harm to our economy.

We on the SNP Benches know our responsibilities, and we will not follow those who started the fire into the flames.