Brexit Negotiations

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:44 am on 3rd October 2019.

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Photo of Ian Blackford Ian Blackford SNP Westminster Leader 11:44 am, 3rd October 2019

May I thank the Prime Minister for advance sight of his statement?

I want to be very clear with the Prime Minister from the outset. These proposals are unacceptable. They are unworkable. They are undeliverable. It is all about blaming someone else, in this case the European Union when his plan is rejected. It is a plan designed to fail. But of course, the Prime Minister knows that. By his own design, this “take it or leave it” threat is yet another push towards a catastrophic no-deal exit.

For Scotland, these proposals would take us out of the European Union, the single market and the customs union against our will. The UK Government’s document talks about the consent of the people of Northern Ireland as being required. Where is the requirement for the consent of the Scottish people, who voted to remain and whose voices are ignored by this Conservative Government? The Prime Minister may have bought the consent of the Democratic Unionist party with these proposals, but every other political party in Northern Ireland and every major business group is not buying it. They are not alone. The Prime Minister does not have the consent of this House, and he does not have the consent of these islands for this doomed deal or for a devastating no-deal Brexit. Let me tell him now: he will never have the consent of Scotland.

Prime Minister, why is it acceptable for Northern Ireland to stay in the single market of the European Union but not for Scotland? This is not a basis for a deal; it is a half-baked plan from Dominic Cummings and his Brexit fanatics. The Prime Minister knows that he cannot get his proposal approved and he does not care, because the truth is that he either has no interest in getting deal at all or does not grasp the reality of a workable backstop.

The Prime Minister must be reminded that he is duty bound to obey the law and seek an extension to the 31 October deadline. So let me put this to the Prime Minister: the proposed deal was dead even before he left the podium of the Tory conference. The Prime Minister’s contempt for this House—because that is what it is—for democracy and for the people to have their say through their representatives is clear for all to see. This House must take back control, not for us but for the people we serve.

So I want to ask the Prime Minister—and I want him to think very carefully before he answers—and I say to him: give us an actual answer. Will the Prime Minister obey the law as required to seek an extension, and if not, will he commit today, right here, right now, that he will resign? We will not let the Prime Minister shift the blame—[Interruption.] It is quite remarkable. We are talking about a Prime Minister threatening to break the law and the guffaws from the Tory Benches say it all.

We will not let the Prime Minister shift the blame for his devastating plans for a no-deal Brexit. The responsibility for the catastrophic threat lies solely and squarely at the Prime Minister’s door. That is why I want to put the Prime Minister on notice: the SNP will do everything possible to secure an extension and to stop a no-deal Brexit. I say to the Prime Minister: be warned—secure an extension or resign. If not, the SNP stands ready to bring this Government down.