Immigration

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:54 pm on 26th June 2019.

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Photo of Douglas Ross Douglas Ross Conservative, Moray 2:54 pm, 26th June 2019

I am grateful for that intervention, but according to the hon. and learned Lady’s own figures 28% of her constituents take a different view, and I think that should sometimes be heard in this Chamber, and of course we all remember that her constituents also voted to remain in the United Kingdom when we had the Scottish independence referendum in 2014.

I am grateful that the hon. Member for Dundee East did not leave the Chamber as I started speaking. He decided that Scottish Conservative Members did not have enough experience to speak in this debate—that we were too young, too silly, too short of experience to contribute to this debate. Then when I tried to intervene on him he was too feart to take the intervention. [Interruption.] And he is now too feart to even listen to this; he cannot even stay in the Chamber. Well, I have more to say about him: he was too feart to listen to Scottish Conservative Members then, and he is too feart now because he has walked out of the Chamber. Sometimes some people say that, with experience and longevity in this Chamber, you also become boring and irrelevant, and I have to say, having looked at the faces of the hon. Gentleman’s colleagues as he was speaking, I think he has now reached that point in his career. That is perhaps why he has left—he has no love on those Benches and he has none from these Benches, given the despicable way that he spoke in the debate. [Interruption.] We are very excited today, aren’t we? [Interruption.] SNP Members are asking where other Conservative Members are. The SNP parliamentary membership is 35, and I think we have less than a third of them here today for their own debate. For their own debate, they cannot even get more than a third of their Members to turn up. Perhaps the hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh South West will get a few more back into the Chamber today.

We have also heard much in this debate from SNP Members about the “hostile environment” and we have heard lots of quotes from SNP Members about what the Conservative Government have done and what the Labour Government did. I am surprised, however, that not a single SNP Member has quoted their own party leader, because we all remember that Nicola Sturgeon said in July 2014, when she was Deputy First Minister and a key figure in the SNP independence campaign of that year:

“We have set down a robust and common sense position” on the issue of immigration and migration. She went on to say:

“If Scotland was outside Europe”

EU nationals would

“lose the right to stay here.”

That is a direct quote from Nicola Sturgeon from the SNP. That was their position as they were fighting for separation for Scotland from the rest of the United Kingdom. I am glad we have a more measured response in the UK Home Office and the UK Government.