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European Union Withdrawal Negotiations

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 5th March 2019.

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Photo of Donald Cameron Donald Cameron Conservative

As I said in December, not to respect that vote would render us guilty of forgetting that we serve the electorate, and that service includes respecting the electorate’s decisions, which were freely expressed in a referendum on a question posed to and answered by the United Kingdom about its membership of the EU.

Jackson Carlaw has already quoted Alex Neil, who said in November 2016:

“The democratic wishes of the people have to be respected.”

I agree.

A few months ago, the cabinet secretary Mike Russell spoke about the difference between representatives and delegates and quoted Edmund Burke, who said that a representative should not sacrifice

“His unbiased opinion, his mature judgment, his enlightened conscience” but instead

“owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.”

The implication was that anyone who wanted to give effect to the referendum result was repudiating their role as a representative—that they were meekly sacrificing their judgment in favour of the electorate’s opinion. I voted to remain in the EU, and I regret that we are leaving it, but leave we must, otherwise we would be betraying the wishes of this country as expressed by the voters of this country. The Prime Minister’s deal is simply the best way of achieving that outcome.