European Union (Withdrawal) Act

Part of Business of the House (Today) – in the House of Commons at 5:28 pm on 12th March 2019.

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Photo of Joanna Cherry Joanna Cherry Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Justice and Home Affairs), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Justice), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Home Affairs) 5:28 pm, 12th March 2019

It is a pleasure to follow Boris Johnson, although I am puzzled as to why all the wonderful ideas he has about Britain’s glorious future outwith the European Union were not put into play in the two years he spent as one of the most senior people in the Cabinet. One thing that he and I agree on is that this is a rotten deal, although the reasons we will vote against it are very different.

I make no apology for voting against this deal— 62% of people living in Scotland voted against leaving the European Union, and 72% of my constituents in Edinburgh South West voted against leaving the European Union. Quite frankly, if I were to vote for this deal, I would probably be strung up from the nearest lamppost as soon as I got home, because my constituents feel extremely strongly about this. They do not want to be taken out of the European Union, and they are very angry about being taken out of the European Union against their will.

Many of my constituents work in the second biggest financial sector in the United Kingdom. Many of my constituents work in two of the best universities in Scotland—Edinburgh Napier University and Heriot-Watt University—and many work in businesses that are already opening offices abroad. I am aware of at least one significant business in my constituency that is moving out of Edinburgh and the UK completely as a result of Brexit.

I make no apology for voting against the deal because I know—not because it is my opinion, but because the evidence I have heard over the last two years in the Exiting the European Union Committee tells me so—that this deal will make Scotland poorer and that it will make Scotland a less safe place to live. I know that this deal will remove Scotland from a single market of 500 million people and attempt to keep us, in some sort of hostage-like situation, in an internal market of only 60 million, in which we really do not have a proper say in the rules and regulations.