The Scottish Government has long argued for Scotland to have its own arrangements for Brexit, recognising that the vote in the referendum here was comprehensively against leaving the EU.
As far back as December 2016, we set out in “Scotland’s Place in Europe” comprehensive proposals to achieve that, including the powers that should be transferred to this Parliament to enable us to implement our proposals.
The UK Government has not shown the slightest inclination to have serious discussions on what Brexit means for governance in these islands, beyond its instinct to centralise and control. The proposals that the Prime Minister set out this week seem to be designed to fail, as they are demanding that the EU abandon some of its core principles.
The best way to protect our place in Europe and our relationship with the EU is for Scotland to become an independent member in our own right.
As the cabinet secretary said, the Scottish Government was the first in these isles to publish a Brexit plan, which the UK Government ignored. The Scottish Government then put forward a compromise position, which the UK Government also ignored. The Tories have ignored the voices of the 62 per cent who voted to remain—
I am almost too nervous to speak, now. [
.] I said, “almost too nervous to speak”, just in case Johann Lamont thought that I might be wishing not to.
One of the many tragedies of the Brexit situation is the refusal of the Prime Minister—of any Prime Minister—to listen to what is being said to them by Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and, indeed, their own party. That is one of the root causes of our finding ourselves in this position. It is essential that Scotland’s voice be heard on a simple question: does it want to exit the EU with the UK, with all the chaos, or does it want to be a normal independent state in the EU? That is the core question. I know which side I am on.