United Kingdom’S Withdrawal from the European Union

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:43 am on 29th March 2019.

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Photo of Ian Blackford Ian Blackford SNP Westminster Leader 10:43 am, 29th March 2019

I am grateful to my hon. Friend, and she is absolutely right. We are sent here as 35 SNP MPs to stand up for our constituents—the majority in Scotland. At a time when this House is threatening to take us out of the European Union against our will, I can absolutely guarantee that the voice of Scotland and the voice of remain will be heard in this Chamber, and no Conservative MP is going to shut Scotland down.

This Tory Government have wasted £4 billion on investing in no-deal preparations. This money should never have been spent, and we should have ruled out no deal as a possibility long ago. Why did the Prime Minister not do that? The PM regularly says that all MPs have a duty to deliver Brexit. Above all the duties mandated to the SNP, we are elected to stand up for Scotland’s interests and Scotland’s voice. It is clear that no one else will, and we are making it absolutely crystal clear: we will never accept Brexit on behalf of the people of Scotland.

The Prime Minister has prescribed her Brexit deal to Scotland, despite decisive and unanimous analysis that this will be bad for our country and do irreparable damage to our key relationships. Even some of her Cabinet seem to agree. Some 100,000 jobs could be lost from Scotland if Westminster backs the Prime Minister. The EU workers needed to grow our economy will be denied to Scotland if the Tories get their way. Our economy will be smaller, our people poorer and our country isolated. The SNP will not—not ever—do that to Scotland. We will not back the Prime Minister. We will always stand up and put Scotland’s interests first.

I am angry and I am frustrated, but I am, too, deeply saddened that we have reached this point. Imagine how people think up and down the United Kingdom. They are ashamed of this Parliament, ashamed of British politics and embarrassed by the laughing stock we have become in the world. I want to say to people watching at home that we in the SNP are embarrassed, too. We are appalled at the behaviour of Government Members and many official Opposition Members as well. They have let you down. They have broken Britain and now they have no idea how to fix it. While the Tory and Labour parties scramble on a race to the bottom, I say to them listen up: the people are watching.

One million people marched to demand a second EU referendum, and 6 million signed a petition to revoke article 50. Are we listening to their voices? The answer has to be no. Yes, the SNP is here to stand up for Scotland. We are proud to represent the voices of Scotland and to stand up for the democratically expressed will of our people and our Parliament. But, Mr Speaker, we also care about the rest of the United Kingdom—about our friends and our neighbours. I deeply question the motives of the Tory and Labour leaderships. The power is in all our hands—let us use it.

My plea is for Members to vote down the Government’s proposition this afternoon, and let us put the question back to the people. The Prime Minister has lost control. The Government are out of control. The Leader of the Opposition is unwilling to exert control over his party. Let us give the power back to the people, end this stalemate and give certainty back to business and assurances to EU workers. Let us salvage our bonds with our European neighbours. It is not too late. We cannot give up. Take back control, and give power back to the people.