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I beg to move,
That this House
declines to give a Third Reading to the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill because the Scottish Parliament has not consented to those parts of the Bill which encroach on devolved competencies, and because it fails to take into account the fact that the people of Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the European Union;
and further believes that the Bill is not fit for purpose as it continues to undermine the fundamental principles of the Scotland Act 1998 by reserving to the UK Parliament powers that would otherwise be devolved to the Scottish Parliament upon the UK leaving the European Union.
I congratulate you, Mr Deputy Speaker, on your new position in the big comfy chair—hopefully you have your feet up on the foot stool.
I thank all the staff of the Public Bill Office and the Clerks for the support that they have given right across the House in helping to put the Bills together and in helping Members to draw up and submit amendments, which is no easy thing for many of us. They have had to do that through all the stages of Brexit legislation, and all of us should thank them for their work.
Despite all the understandable triumphalism after winning the election in England, we see in this Prime Minister’s deal the potential of a repeat of the Brexit saga of the last three and a half years, as through hubris he is making similar mistakes to his predecessor. She painted herself into a corner with her red lines before carrying out an economic assessment to decide what form of Brexit would be least damaging. There has been no economic assessment of this deal. The last one was in 2018, on the Chequers “cake and eat it” plan, which was such a fairy tale that we could hear the unicorns galloping down Whitehall.
The former Prime Minister launched the article 50 process, with its fixed end-date and the clock ticking all the time, without a scooby as to what the UK actually wanted to ask for from the EU. This Prime Minister has made it illegal to extend transition despite the fact that 11 months is a ridiculously short time to negotiate even a basic free trade deal, let alone the complex shopping list of the political declaration.
The former Prime Minister kept her cards close to her chest, so Parliament had no input or influence on the withdrawal deal as it developed. The removal of clause 31 from the Bill means that Parliament, and indeed devolved Governments, will have no influence on the future relationship with the EU, despite the impact on all our constituents and local industries.
The former Prime Minister was then terribly shocked that, when she finally produced her deal, it was such a flop, drawn like a lifeless rabbit out of a hat and rejected by those on both sides of the Brexit debate, including the current Prime Minister. Members of this House are being sidelined and can therefore only wonder what the future relationship will look like when it is eventually unveiled in December.