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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

The organisations have supported the deal because it respects the result of the referendum.

The NFUS said:

“This opportunity needs to be taken”.

Taking the withdrawal agreement and the political declaration together, the deal provides clarity on our status as an independent coastal nation by 2020; ensures that the environment remains protected and that there is no dilution of our commitments; aims to protect trade in goods, which is crucial for our exporters; and, above all, ensures that EU citizens who live and work in the UK can continue to do so.

The SNP refuses to back the deal, which is extraordinary, because it meets many of the SNP’s demands. It includes a transition period, prevents a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, and offers a guarantee of EU citizens’ rights and the likelihood of a customs partnership.

It is instructive to scrutinise the SNP’s various positions on Brexit over the past few years. The First Minister made much play of consistency; let us see how much consistency the SNP has shown.

First, the SNP advocated EU membership. Then it advocated a differentiated deal for Scotland. Then it advocated single market and customs union membership for the UK. Then we learned from Ian Blackford that that particular ship had sailed and that, having rejected it for months, the SNP was advocating a people’s vote—or was it? There was talk of a hierarchy of outcomes and preferences or of any outcome that commanded a majority. Then the SNP advocated a much narrower focus on a people’s vote alone. That is a case study in opportunism. We should not be surprised by that because—