It is an honour to follow Catherine McKinnell.
The Government’s Queen’s Speech sets out a bold and ambitious domestic agenda, focusing on the priorities of the people: sorting Brexit, investing in public services, tackling crime, boosting productivity and attracting investment. The Government are committed to creating new jobs and helping individuals and families with the cost of living. In fact, they already have a clear record of action on delivering jobs. The latest jobs figures confirm this, with over 3.6 million more people in work since 2010, meaning more people with the financial security to serve themselves and their families the length and breadth of Britain.
Further, projections from the IMF show that our economy will grow faster than those in France, Germany and Japan. Once the House finally gets its act together and delivers on the instruction of the British people in 2016 to leave the EU—an instruction that this House asked the British people to make—we will be able to realise the full benefits of Brexit and build a brighter future for our country.
We all know that no-deal Nicola and the SNP are utterly obsessed with independence, but voters across Scotland are all too acutely aware of what an absolute catastrophe independence would be for their jobs, living standards, public services, their families and the Scottish economy. Beyond the recent announcements from the Prime Minister on supporting our farmers and protecting defence jobs, let us never forget that each man, woman and child in Scotland is more prosperous and secure within the Union and the United Kingdom internal market.
This United Kingdom is the most successful union of nations the world has ever seen, and this Government are working day and night to strengthen the bonds that tie us together as one United Kingdom as we leave the European Union. As our economy transitions into a new dynamic age, spurred on by developments in artificial intelligence, precision medicine and new energy technologies, this programme for government lights the way for us to move with confidence and to reap the full benefits of the future.
As we leave the EU, we will regain control of our independent trade policy, which will allow us to discard the protectionist shell of the EU and turn our attention towards the growing markets around the globe. The siren voices of protectionism will never be silenced, but free trade is good for all, and by becoming the torch bearers of free trade, we can show the world that we are open for business and that we want to be more outward looking than ever. As part of that, I will continue to campaign for a free port for Aberdeen. I know that energy companies and subsea manufacturers in my constituency are increasingly looking for markets in Asia, Africa and the Americas. This programme will not only allow them to do so more easily, but support them to do so. This will be good for the national economy, the local economy and the financial security of my constituents.
In representing Aberdeen South, the core of the UK’s oil and gas industry, I am acutely aware of the impact of the loan charge. I have been campaigning on this and urge the Government to act and to bring something forward with immediate effect, because there are people in dire circumstances who need our support and help. I believe, however, that the Government recognise the need for a healthy and robust private enterprise economy in order to properly fund the public services that people rely on every day, which is why I welcome this Queen’s Speech. It is a Unionist programme from top to bottom, and one that will provide the stability and certainty our economy needs. That is why, without hesitation, I will vote for it tonight.