European Council

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:43 pm on 11th April 2019.

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Photo of Ian Blackford Ian Blackford SNP Westminster Leader 1:43 pm, 11th April 2019

I thank the Prime Minister for advance sight of her statement. What a total fiasco the past few weeks, months and years have been under this shambolic Tory Government. The UK did not leave the EU in March, and thankfully, given the efforts of SNP politicians and others in this place, and the good will of the European Union, we will not crash out of the EU on Friday. What an irony that it is the European Union that has got the UK out of this mess. Let that be a lesson for Members in this place: it is the EU that has put the interests of our citizens in the UK first—our businesses, our farmers and our fishermen. We should not be lambasting the EU but thanking it.

With the European Union agreeing to a further extension to article 50, the Prime Minister must use this time to hold a second EU referendum, with the option of remaining on the ballot paper. It is now a very real possibility that we can remain in the European Union. There were a total of 133 days between the 1997 general election and the devolution referendum in Scotland. As of today, there are 204 days until the new Brexit deadline on 31 October. Will the Prime Minister now remove the ridiculous excuse that there is not enough time to hold a second referendum, with remain on the ballot paper? Scotland did not vote for Brexit and should not be forced to accept any Brexit deal that will harm our interests. The only way forward is to put the decision back to the people.

Scotland will not support a Brexit deal cooked up by the Brexit-supporting Labour and Tory parties, so let me ask this; yesterday, the Prime Minister ducked and dived my questioning, so a simple yes or no will suffice. Have the Government offered a second EU referendum in talks with the Labour party? Yes or no? Has the Labour party requested a second EU referendum in the talks? Yes or no? Is the Labour party cosying up to the Tories, asking to end freedom of movement as the price for their support for a Tory deal? [Hon. Members: “Yes or no?”]

Finally, will the Prime Minister recognise that she cannot fix this mess alone? She should stop ignoring the people of Scotland and open meaningful discussions with the devolved Governments and civic society. The Prime Minister should start leading by listening and please get her head out of the sand.