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European Union (Withdrawal) Act

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 8:46 pm on 25th March 2019.

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Photo of Martin Docherty Martin Docherty Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Industries of the Future and Blockchain Technologies) 8:46 pm, 25th March 2019

I am actually quite affronted —to use an old-fashioned term—by that type of question, because I do not stand here to speak for the people of Scotland; I stand here to speak for my constituents, those who voted for me and those who voted for other candidates of other political parties. But I am also mindful that some of the hon. Gentleman’s own fellow Back Benchers have said that a true democracy is based on tectonic plates that shift, and if we cannot change our mind in a modern liberal democracy then we are in no democracy at all.

The hon. Gentleman was also in the House when we had the claim of right debate, and his own Members were cheering on when I was saying that Scotland was a nation. I did not hear him disregard that ability to be an independent sovereign nation. So I find his question bizarre, because I am not standing up to speak for Scotland; I am standing up to speak for my constituents who not only voted for their country to be an independent sovereign nation but also voted for the UK to remain within the EU. We were told by the first Brexit Secretary in his first speech that the industrial working class of this political state voted to leave the European Union. I took great delight in reminding him then, as I remind the House today, that the industrial working class of West Dunbartonshire voted overwhelmingly to remain. They also voted overwhelmingly for their country to be an independent sovereign state.

I hope that Members understand that in a modern democracy, we can change our mind. How can so many people be affronted by the proposition that mature adults who are able to go to a ballot box and vote can change their mind? I know that my country will do so, and that it will be an independent one at that.