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Main power in connection with other separation issues

Part of European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:39 pm on 8th January 2020.

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Photo of Joanna Cherry Joanna Cherry Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Justice and Home Affairs), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Justice), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Home Affairs) 12:39 pm, 8th January 2020

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Sir Roger.

I rise to speak to amendments 38 to 49, which stand in my name and those of some of my colleagues, to amendment 10, which stands in the name of my hon. Friend Dr Whitford and some of my other colleagues, and to amendments 28 and 29 and new clause 43, which stand in the name of my hon. Friend Stuart C. McDonald.

We heard a lot yesterday from those on the Government Benches about the desire of the British people to get on with Brexit, so I would like to begin today by reminding them that the UK at present consists of four constituent parts, and that two out of four of them—Scotland and Northern Ireland—have voted to remain in the EU on every occasion they have been given, including the EU referendum in 2016 and thereafter.

I acknowledge and respect the fact that the Prime Minister and his party won a majority of the seats in England, but I ask those on the Government Benches to pause and consider that the Prime Minister did not win a majority of the seats in Wales, did not win any seats in Northern Ireland—indeed, remain parties won the majority of seats there—and that in Scotland, standing on a manifesto commitment to deliver Brexit and prevent a second independence referendum, the Conservative and Unionist party was reduced to a rump of six MPs, with the Scottish National party winning the election emphatically.

I ask then that this afternoon not be another session of “Scotland get back in your box” but that there is some respectful recognition of the democratic desire of my constituents and the majority of constituents in Scotland to remain in the EU. Rather than lectures about delivering the will of the British people, let us seriously consider that it is the role of the Opposition to scrutinise Bills. I realise that, inevitably, Brexit will now happen—I hope and believe that Scotland will find a way around that for Scotland—but that does not mean there are not legitimate concerns about the way in which the Government are seeking to deliver Brexit.