Safeguarding Research Collaborations and Scientific Excellence

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 7th November 2018.

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Photo of Iain Gray Iain Gray Labour

I absolutely do not, because Theresa May’s approach to Brexit has been a catastrophe. I will say more about that later.

Rachael Hamilton complained to members on the Government benches about the negativity of the Government’s motion, which we will support. I bow to nobody in my scepticism of the Scottish Government, but even I cannot stretch that to say that the problem with Brexit is its negativity about the Brexit deal.

The problem is the lack of confidence among people in our scientific community about what is happening. Gillian Martin said that they do not know what kind of Brexit they are looking at and Mr Scott pointed out that only 3 per cent of the scientific community feel that they are being listened to in any way at all. Joan McAlpine and David Stewart gave us exact illustrations of damage that has already happened, through the experience of the UHI and a fall in funding. The problem for Mr Mundell is that nobody believes that this Tory Government can deliver or is delivering

“a smooth and orderly Brexit”.

That is also our difficulty with the Liberal Democrat amendment. I personally find the idea of a people’s vote very attractive, as do many colleagues—as Mr Scott has said. However, I find even more attractive the idea of a general election and the prospect of an opportunity to get rid of the shambolic Conservative Government. It is entirely responsible for the whole sorry mess of Brexit, and its utterly incompetent two years of so-called negotiation is damaging our science and research base in Scotland and so much else besides. A general election remains the Labour Party’s preference to find our way out of the mess that has been created by the Conservative Government.