Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker, for your forbearance in allowing me to speak at this point in the debate.
Let me first say that I appreciated the tone and much of the content of the speech delivered by Stuart C. McDonald. He took a very measured approach to some of the issues that I think across the House we recognise are matters of concern. However, in response to the Minister’s opening remarks and the interventions she suffered from the SNP, it was clear that when it comes to this matter, as in so many other matters, the SNP’s position is, in my view, tedious.
SNP Members, as they always do, frame the debate around the constitution: whether decisions should be made in Edinburgh or London. That is what dominates their thinking. That is what gets them most excited, as we have seen in this debate. In doing so, they have, as they always do, let down Scotland. Their voices should be standing up for their constituencies, telling us about the needs of their communities and their businesses. Instead, they use this as an opportunity to talk on and on about independence; about how, if we had independence, we could have everything we ever wanted and it would all be perfect. It is the age-old tactic of those who sell snake oil. The fact is that the people of Scotland told them exactly what they think of the SNP’s independence plans in 2014. They want none of it and they want us, as Scottish MPs, to get on with the job of representing Scotland’s interests within the UK.