European Union (Future Relationship)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 9th October 2019.

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Photo of Maureen Watt Maureen Watt Scottish National Party

3. To ask the Scottish Government, in light of reports that Northern Ireland will be given powers to shape its future relationship with the EU, what representations it has made to the UK Government regarding similar powers being given to Scotland. (S5O-03637)

Photo of Michael Russell Michael Russell Scottish National Party

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.

Photo of Maureen Watt Maureen Watt Scottish National Party

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—

Photo of Maureen Watt Maureen Watt Scottish National Party

— and they ignored their trouncing earlier this year in the EU elections.

The Deputy Presiding Officer:

Excuse me. I will decide when the question is to come. I do not need you to tell me.

Photo of Maureen Watt Maureen Watt Scottish National Party

Is not it the case that the people of Scotland should have their say on their own future? If the UK Government continues to—

Photo of Maureen Watt Maureen Watt Scottish National Party

—ignore the voters, they are the ones who will take the future into their own hands as an independent country—

The Deputy Presiding Officer:

Naughty, naughty, Ms Watt. That was a long question. I do not want long supplementaries. I know that you will be good, cabinet secretary.

Photo of Michael Russell Michael Russell Scottish National Party

I am almost too nervous to speak, now. [

Interruption

.] 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.