Global Britain

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:41 pm on 3rd February 2020.

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Photo of Dominic Raab Dominic Raab The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs 3:41 pm, 3rd February 2020

The hon. Gentleman referred at the outset of his question to an approach that was smaller, insular and isolated, but I am afraid that that sounds like the Scottish National party’s recipe for the people of Scotland. The Conservatives want one United Kingdom proceeding forward and ready to grasp any opportunities, including for the Scottish people, and including ensuring that we have full control over our fisheries as an independent coastal state—one thing that he would clearly be willing to sacrifice at the drop of a hat. Although it is understandable that the SNP, given the views of its leadership, calls for more and more powers to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament, it is astonishing that it wants to give up power to unelected bureaucrats in Brussels through what he calls dynamic legislative alignment. There is a total contradiction in his position.

The hon. Gentleman referred to the dispute resolution mechanism. The UK Government will approach the negotiations in the same way we did for the withdrawal agreement—although this will be tailored to free trade and areas of security co-operation—and will ensure that there is a track for negotiated diplomacy to resolve problems through political resolution. As for arbitration, where it is necessary, the common practice is that both sides appoint arbitrators and appoint a chair. What we will never do—the EU calls for this and the SNP seems to endorse it—is allow one side’s judicial institutions to have control over the dispute resolution mechanism for both sides. That would be entirely lopsided and a fundamental abdication of responsibility by any responsible Government, and we will not go down that path.

I appreciate that the hon. Gentleman will continue to make in his own way the blinkered arguments for a second referendum in Scotland. In the meantime, we will continue to work in the full interests of the whole United Kingdom and take this country forward together and united.