Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:55 pm on 29th October 2019.

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Photo of Pete Wishart Pete Wishart Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Constitution), Shadow SNP Leader of the House of Commons, Chair, Scottish Affairs Committee 1:55 pm, 29th October 2019

I thank the Leader of the House for bringing forward this very interesting business motion this afternoon. Here we are, once again, considering another programme motion. I am pretty certain that the Government are full and sick of these cursed things. Who knows?—after the contribution from the shadow Leader of the House, Valerie Vaz, we might be heading for meaningful programme motion No. 2. I was beginning to sense that Labour Members were about to oppose this motion, which could mean that the Bill would not progress. My message to everyone is that if they are intent on getting their Brexmas decorations out, perhaps they should just wait a moment until this has been concluded.

We could have had all this done and dusted by now. It could all have been settled in October, and the Commons could have been reassembling right now to get on with the business that our constituents find important, but the Prime Minister’s bluff and bluster have brought us here to a deadlocked Parliament, a broken Britain and the spectre of the Government’s hard Brexit still looming over us. However, there are now a few things that we know as we consider this programme motion. They will not get their no deal, which is good, and the Prime Minister will not be able to bring back his withdrawal agreement until the British people have had their say, but probably most importantly, he has failed to get the United Kingdom out of the European Union on Thursday. Remember, it was “do or die”, “no ifs, no buts” and “die in a ditch”. This was the very basis of his Tory leadership campaign and his solemn pledge to his party. The Kippers, the Faragists and the right-wing Tories must feel like total mugs today, because he has not delivered and he will soon be judged.

The date on the Bill is 12 December, and we all know that a poll in December is less than ideal. In some of the highland parts of my constituency, for example, it gets dark about 3.30 pm at that time of year. It is probably worse for some of my colleagues. However, it is worth that risk in order that we remove this Prime Minister. Calling an election by driving through a Bill in just one day is also less than ideal. We will have six hours to consider all these details, and using a programme motion to clamp down on any kind of amendment is absolutely objectionable. That is why we are supporting the amendment tabled by Stella Creasy today.

It has never been the practice of the Scottish National party to vote with the Tories in this House on programme motions, and we will not be supporting them on this today, but we will not be standing in the way of the Bill. We will not vote with the Tories on the programme motion, but we will back the general election that this country definitely needs to break the Brexit deadlock and make Scotland’s voice heard loud and clear.