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European Union: Future Relationship

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:40 am on 27th February 2020.

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Photo of Michael Gove Michael Gove Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster 10:40 am, 27th February 2020

I am very grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his remarks. First, may I use this opportunity to place on the record my thanks to Mike Russell MSP from the Scottish Government for the work he has done, along with leaders from other devolved Administrations, in helping to shape our approach?

Of course, the Scottish Government and the Welsh Assembly Government will in some areas take a different view from the UK Government, but it is undoubtedly the case that our negotiating position is enhanced as a result of the conversations we have with our colleagues in the Scottish National party and the Scottish Government. Indeed, a number of changes have been made to our approach and to this document, following conversations I have had with the Scottish Government over the course of the past week.

It is also the case, however, that Scotland, like every part of the United Kingdom, will benefit hugely not just from our departure from the European Union but from the new trading relationships we will develop with other countries. It is the case, for example, that when we conclude a new free trade agreement with the United States, Scotland will be one of the sectors that benefits most from the new trading opportunities. It will also be the case, as the Scottish Government have themselves pointed out, that tens of thousands of new jobs will be created in north-east Scotland in the fishing sector as a direct result of our departure from the European Union—jobs that would not be created if we followed the SNP approach of staying in the common fisheries policy.

Ultimately, the greatest threat to the prosperity and security of the people of Scotland is the reckless approach the Scottish Government take towards the 2014 referendum and their determination to overturn the settled will of the Scottish people to stay in the United Kingdom. Their approach, I am afraid, would mean that we would have border posts at Berwick and they would not be able to use the pound sterling in Stirling. We must give that madness a miss.