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European Council

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:40 pm on 25th March 2019.

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Photo of Ian Blackford Ian Blackford SNP Westminster Leader 3:40 pm, 25th March 2019

I thank the Prime Minister for an advance copy of her statement.

We are in a crisis, but one of the Prime Minister’s own making. Her ill-judged speech before she departed for Brussels concluded that everyone is to blame but herself, trying to put herself on the side of the people and blaming parliamentarians. It was Trumpesque. We do not need such raw populism at a time like this—it is truly flabbergasting. Will she now apologise for blaming parliamentarians in the way that she did?

The Prime Minister needs to be reminded: she is supposed to be leading a country. No one on these Opposition Benches thinks she can deliver. Her Back Benchers do not think she can deliver. People right across the United Kingdom do not think she can deliver. Prime Minister, time is up. Today is about parliamentarians taking back control. People at home are watching, and they are ashamed of this Parliament, ashamed of this Government, ashamed of the embarrassment that British politics has become. Today, Parliament must move to find a consensus. We must come together and protect the interests of citizens across Scotland and all other parts of the United Kingdom. I say to Members: we still have a choice.

I want to ask the Prime Minister now, with all sincerity—will she respect the will of Parliament and reject no deal? While she is telling us that our votes do not count, Privy Counsellors are being given briefings by her Government, and those briefings are talking about catastrophe and the real risks that there are to the United Kingdom. It is the Prime Minister who is threatening the people of the United Kingdom with no deal, and a no-deal exit that this Parliament has already rejected. What is the point of us all sitting in this Chamber and voting in debates when the Prime Minister thinks she can ignore parliamentary sovereignty? What a disgrace—what an insult to this place; if our votes do not count, then frankly we may as well just go home.

If this Prime Minister is telling the people of Scotland that our votes did not count when we voted to remain, well, we know what the answer is: the day is coming when the people of Scotland will vote for independence and we will be an independent country in the European Union. So will the Prime Minister tell us, do our votes count? Are they binding on the Government or is this just a puppet show? If that is the case, this is the greatest assault on democracy inflicted by any Prime Minister. If Members of Parliament are prepared to tolerate that, then shame on them—shame on them. Scotland will not be dragged out of the European Union by this Prime Minister. From the very beginning of this process, Scotland has been ignored, and now we learn that Parliament will once again be ignored.

At the weekend, I was proud and privileged to take part in a historic march in London. I was proud to stand with the people, alongside Scotland’s First Minister, and demand that the Government listen to the people. Let me tell the Prime Minister this: she said that no deal is the alternative; well, we on these Benches will move to revoke, because Scottish parliamentarians have made sure that we have that power, and we will stop her driving us off a cliff edge. Over 1 million people marched to have the chance to vote again to stop this chaos. Prime Minister, why are you not listening? The Prime Minister must end this madness. Put it to the people—let us have a people’s vote.