Priorities for Government

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:48 am on 25th July 2019.

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Photo of Ian Blackford Ian Blackford SNP Westminster Leader 11:48 am, 25th July 2019

I should welcome the Prime Minister to his place: the last Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. It is often said that the Prime Minister lives in a parallel universe—well, my goodness, that has been proven beyond any reasonable doubt this morning. In fact, it looked as if he was about to launch himself into outer space.

There are questions to be asked as to the mandate that the Prime Minister has for the office that he now occupies. He has been appointed not by this House, not by the people but by the Tory party. What have they done? It horrifies me that the new Prime Minister finds his position through such an undemocratic process. Indeed, it was the Prime Minister himself who called the system a “gigantic fraud” when Gordon Brown was parachuted into office, just like he was, 12 years ago. Scotland did not vote for Brexit, we did not vote for no deal, and we most certainly did not vote for this Prime Minister.

Will the Prime Minister accept the First Minister’s call this morning for an urgent meeting of the Heads of Government? Scottish Government analysis has shown that a no-deal Brexit will hit the economy hard, with a predicted 8% hit to GDP, threatening up to 100,000 Scottish jobs. Just this week alone, we have seen the International Monetary Fund, the Confederation of British Industry, the Trades Union Congress, the food and drink industry and the British Chambers of Commerce all warning of a no-deal Brexit. The Office for Budget Responsibility has revealed that a no-deal Brexit could lead to a plunge in the value of the pound and leave a £30 billion black hole in the public finances. What analysis has the Prime Minister made of no deal? When he was asked last week, he had no answer. He wants to drive us off the cliff edge and he does not even know the impact of the damage that will cause. This is the height of irresponsibility —economic madness driven by ideology—from the Prime Minister, supported by his new right-wing ideologues on the Front Bench.

A new deal from Europe is the stuff of fantasy. Time and again, Europe has made it clear that the withdrawal agreement is not open for negotiation. Last night, Leo Varadkar confirmed once again that it will not happen. The Prime Minister has no plan. He is full of bluster, but the consequences of his fantasy land will have devastating consequences. He is deluded. Let me warn the Prime Minister: if he tries to take Scotland and the United Kingdom out of the European Union on a no-deal basis, we will stop him doing so. This House will stop the Prime Minister. We will not let him do untold damage to the jobs and constituents of our country. Parliament will stop this madness in its tracks.

The Prime Minister was elected by 0.13% of the population. He has no mandate from Scotland. He has no mandate in this House. Scotland has had a Tory Government for whom it did not vote for 36 of the past 64 years. The Barnett formula that protects spending in Scotland has been criticised by the Prime Minister, the Home Secretary and the Foreign Secretary. Will the Prime Minister today rule out changing the Barnett formula, or is Scotland under attack from this Prime Minister?

The whole internal Tory party crisis has been a democratic outrage. Scotland’s First Minister has been clear that she is now reviewing the timetable for a second independence referendum. Scotland will not stand by and let decisions be taken by charlatans on our behalf. I ask the Prime Minister to do the honourable thing: call a general election and let the people of Scotland have their say.