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

My hon. Friend is correct. We can all remember that, pre-2014, when we held our referendum in Scotland, we were promised that a bonanza of orders would come to the shipyards on the Clyde, and we know exactly what happened to that.

Let me come back to the Chancellor. Here he is, ready to trot in behind the Prime Minister to deliver a blindfold Brexit that will send our economy into an unmitigated disaster. It is a shameful act of cowardice from the Chancellor, putting his party before people.

Instead of coming clean with Parliament and with the public, the Prime Minister asks us to vote blindly for this deal today. Despite numerous attempts to ascertain whether the Government have even conducted an economic analysis of the Prime Minister’s deal, they have still not published any analysis. What is the Prime Minister hiding? It is the height of irresponsibility for the Prime Minister to bring her deal to Parliament without providing the analysis of its impact. We know that her deal will cost jobs.

It is ludicrous for MPs to be asked to vote on a deal while completely blind to its economic consequences. Will the Prime Minister not end the shroud of secrecy and come clean with MPs and the whole of the United Kingdom? Analysis published on the London School of Economics website estimates that

“the Brexit deal could reduce UK GDP per capita by between 1.9% and 5.5% in ten years’
time, compared to remaining in the EU.”

The National Institute of Economic and Social Research has warned:

“If the Government’s proposed Brexit deal is implemented, then GDP in the longer term will be around 4% lower than it would have been had the UK stayed in the EU.”

That is the reality. Will Members on opposite Benches vote for a deal without knowing the consequences? Will they sleepwalk into disaster? I appeal to Members: do not do this as the consequences are too grave. What is coming down the line after today is unknown, but what is known points to chaos.

Even in the political declaration, the UK Government confirmed their intention to end free movement of people, which is vital to meet Scotland’s needs for workers in sectors such as health and social care. I met a young trainee vet in Portree in the Isle of Skye a week past Saturday. She is a young woman from Spain who wants to remain in Scotland, but when she qualifies as a vet, she will not meet the earnings threshold that would guarantee her the right to live in Scotland. Prime Minister, that is what leaving the EU is doing. It is denying opportunities to young people who want to make a contribution to our economy. It is shameful to see Stephen Kerr shaking his head, because we will lose those opportunities to benefit our economy, and we will lose the social benefits that come from that in Scotland.