Article 50 Extension

Part of Destitution Domestic Violence Concession (Eligibility) – in the House of Commons at 4:15 pm on 20th March 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Peter Grant Peter Grant Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Europe), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Exiting the European Union) 4:15 pm, 20th March 2019

There is an important difference there. The reason that the Scottish Green party was able to have some influence on the Scottish Government’s business is that when it was invited to talks, it accepted the invitation. Other parties with significantly more political clout, and therefore presumably much more opportunity to influence those talks, choose not to accept their invitations. They went away in a huff. They wanted to have something to complain about, but they could not find anything proper to complain about so they invented something. We heard their bogus outrage about a tax that has actually been legalised and is part of the policy of the hon. Gentleman’s own party within this Government. The Conservative party did not take part in discussions with the Government of Scotland because it turned down the invitation to do so. Our party has often not taken part in discussions with the Government of the United Kingdom because we have not even had an invitation, and neither have any of the other parties represented here apart from the DUP—although it has no representatives here today.

The United Kingdom faces a grim choice between two futures. We are now almost hours, rather than days, away from the time when the only option left will be to revoke article 50 or to plunge off the cliff edge without a deal. We are running out of time for anything else. The Prime Minister has taken us 99% of the way from the referendum to cliff edge day, yet she still has no idea how she is going to avoid the cliff edge.

The people of Scotland are facing a choice between two futures as well. It is becoming increasingly and alarmingly clear what our future will be if we remain tied to this failed and dysfunctional Union of so-called equals. Do we want to be part of a Union that treats elected national leaders with contempt and kowtows to the leaders of parties that in the not-too-distant past have invoked homophobia and bigotry as a way to garner electoral support? Do we want to be part of a true partnership of equals in which half a billion people and their Governments will stand shoulder to shoulder with the Government of a nation of barely 3 million people to ensure that those 3 million cannot be bullied by a bigger neighbour? Or will we remain part of a Union that has made it perfectly clear that, even though our people rejected this disastrous Brexit by a majority of almost 2:1, we will have to take it because we are part of that Union?

I want to see a long extension to article 50, because I want the people of the United Kingdom to have a chance to say, “We made a mistake.” I do not need to hope, because I know with absolute certainty that, before very much longer, the people of Scotland will be given the chance to say, “In 2014, we made a mistake.” This time, there can be no doubt whatever what the choice of the people of Scotland will be. I look forward to seeing the people of Scotland taking our place beside our Irish neighbours and cousins as full, independent sovereign members of the equal partnership of the European Union.