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Independence Referendum

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 22nd March 2017.

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Photo of Maurice Golden Maurice Golden Conservative

I will finish this point, which might well answer the member’s question.

Furthermore, the significance of the EU market to Scotland is diminishing. Since 2002, Scottish exports to the EU market have grown by only 8 per cent, while trade within the UK single market has increased by 74 per cent and trade with the rest of the world has increased by 85 per cent. Despite all that, the SNP wants to put our trading relationship with the EU ahead of the internal UK market. That refusal to recognise any benefit that is derived from being part of the UK is a result of an increasingly nasty nationalism.

The situation took a turn for the worse over the weekend, with further seeds of division sown. A senior SNP minister stated that the debate should be propositioned around the theme of Scotland against the Tories. That is dangerous, because it equates the SNP with Scotland. It seeks to define nationhood and nationality in the SNP’s image. It says to the half a million Scots who voted Conservative at the last election that they are not Scottish and they do not have a place in the SNP’s Scotland. Let me tell the SNP this: I am Scottish and you do not speak for me. Such abject and abrasive language from the SNP does not serve Scotland’s interests. I urge the SNP to moderate its tone and do its best to avoid the vile slurs, hatred and bully-boy tactics of the previous independence campaign.

The SNP must put Scotland first and respect the democratic decision that Scotland took in 2014. Now is not the time for a second independence referendum.