Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Environment and Climate Change (European Union Referendum)

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 27th October 2016.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Maurice Golden Maurice Golden Conservative

We will fully cover all those points in the course of the next eight and a half minutes.

Overall, the Government’s approach is the politics of grievance. The irony is that, like with a spoilt child, the more powers that have been given to the Scottish Parliament, the louder the moaning and whingeing from the SNP Government gets. I am not accusing the Scottish Government of being a one-trick pony in blaming the UK Government for every single Scottish Government failing; since 24 June, it has a new trick of blaming Brexit as well.

I believe that Brexit will happen, that Brexit means Brexit and that the UK Government will deliver the best package for everyone in the United Kingdom.

Those who believe the Government motion would think that the EU should take credit for every environmental or climate change target delivered in Scotland. Clearly that is not the case. In fact, it does the Scottish Government a disservice. The cabinet secretary said earlier this week in relation to EU directives that

“any responsible Government would be choosing to do these things”,

and that EU directives were

“simply a starting off point”.

I agree. Why does the motion go against that?

Of course, the EU has had a part to play, but so have the United Nations and many international non-governmental organisations, as well as major international treaties such as the Kyoto protocol and, most recently, the Paris agreement.

It should also be recognised that much of this portfolio already lies within the competence of the Scottish Government and that, on this occasion, it cannot blame its failings on Westminster or Brexit. Going forward, it is simply not acceptable for the Scottish Government to use Brexit as a smokescreen to hide behind in respect of its performance in this area.

Perhaps the problem is that the Scottish Government does not trust itself to look after the environment without intervention from the European Union. I echo the sentiments of the Scottish Wildlife Trust, RSPB Scotland, the National Trust for Scotland, the Woodland Trust and the Marine Conservation Society that the Scottish Government should not use Brexit as an opportunity to deregulate and weaken environmental targets and legislation.