European Union (Withdrawal)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 8:56 pm on 3rd September 2019.

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Photo of Tommy Sheppard Tommy Sheppard Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Cabinet Office), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Scotland), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (House of Lords) 8:56 pm, 3rd September 2019

I and my party have been consistent over the last four years in voting against this country leaving the European Union. We do that for many reasons, but most of all because that is what the people who elected us to speak for them in this place want: Scotland did not vote for this and Scotland does not want this. But we have never in these debates suggested that the result of the 2016 Brexit referendum should be ignored, set aside or overturned by this Parliament. What we have said is that it is the legitimate and proper role of an elected Parliament to consider the consequences of this course of action, and if in our judgment we believe those consequences to be sufficiently dire, we should allow the opportunity the people of the country to reconsider the decision they took in 2016, in full knowledge of the facts we now have available.

What is at risk now is the right of this Parliament to exercise that degree of judgment. It is a shame in many ways that we have to move this motion tonight and we have to pass emergency legislation tomorrow. It ought to be the other way around: a Government, particularly a minority Government, ought to be coming to this Chamber trying to find consensus, trying to explain themselves and trying to get us behind them, but that is not happening. The reason why so many people find it necessary to do what we are going to do tonight is simply that we have lost faith in this Government. Not only have the Government today lost their majority, but they have also lost the trust of this House. We do not believe the Prime Minister when he says he is trying to get a deal—we see no evidence of that whatsoever—and we do not believe the Prime Minister when he says he respects parliamentary democracy, because he is trying to shut down the ability of this House to debate his actions and their consequences.