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I say before I start my speech, Presiding Officer, that if anyone is holding voters in contempt, it is the Conservatives, who are holding in contempt the 1.7 million voters in Scotland who voted to remain in the EU.
When the people of Scotland go to the polling station, they expect their will to be carried out by their elected representatives to the best of our ability. That is the very essence of our representative democracy. The people of Glasgow Cathcart voted for me to be their MSP and the people of Glasgow voted overwhelmingly—by 67 per cent—to remain in the EU, as did 62 per cent of the people of Scotland.
Westminster is said to represent the people of Scotland at UK level, but if there were any doubt about the validity of that statement, the past few months have shown us that nothing can be further from the truth, and that Scotland’s voice continues to be drowned out.
It frustrates me to see Scottish Tories who campaigned to remain in the EU—Jackson Carlaw, Miles Briggs and Adam Tomkins, to name but a few—not only performing such a sharp U-turn on their EU position, but now putting their party interests before the interests of the people whom they represent. Their Tory Government in London has completely lost control, and what they claimed to be our glorious union has now become the laughing stock of Europe. The Prime Minister seems to be more concerned about appeasing the hard-line ERG and DUP, while she is failing miserably in the much more important Brexit negotiations and in holding the country together.
Whether it is a no-deal Brexit or the Prime Minister’s Brexit, the UK is facing an economic catostrophe. I have just created a new word. [
.] The UK is facing a catastrophe, the likes of which we have never seen before. At the same time, political parties have elected members walking out, and other representatives are more concerned about self-interest or internal party politics than they are in the plight that faces the people who elected them.
The Brexit chaos at Westminster seems to be another world, but the people and businesses in my Glasgow Cathcart constituency are already suffering. There is, in my constituency, a business called Arturo’s Delicatessen, which is the only Portuguese deli in Glasgow. It makes wonderful coffee and beautiful cakes. Moreover, its owner Artur employs several locals and his shop serves as a community hub for people as they go about their day. Artur Santos came to the UK from Portugal in 2006, married a UK national, opened a business in Scotland and has been a vital contributor to the local economy in my constituency—as my waistline unfortunately shows.