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It is customary on such occasions to thank the cabinet secretary for early sight of his statement.
I was fully expecting the cabinet secretary to come to Parliament today to apologise. [
.] Yes, he said that the Prime Minister had no intention of negotiating a Brexit deal and was intending to take the UK out of the EU without a deal. He was wrong. However, today, there has been no apology from the SNP.
The cabinet secretary’s boss, Nicola Sturgeon, who has just left the chamber—to go campaigning, I presume—said:
“no meaningful negotiation is going on”.—[
, 5 September 2019; c 10.]
She was wrong. However, today, the cabinet secretary offers no apology for the misleading and mistaken statements of his boss. The SNP’s leader in the House of Commons, Ian Blackford, who is about to lose his seat, said:
“It is a complete sham to say that negotiations are taking place.”—[
House of Commons
, 3 September 2019; Vol 664, c 103.]
He was wrong. However, today, the cabinet secretary glosses over all of that to treat us not to a ministerial statement worthy of the name, but to a party-political broadcast on behalf of the Scottish National Party.
The truth is this: Mike Russell called for a transition period, and Boris Johnson’s new deal provides for one; Mike Russell called for no hard border on the island of Ireland, and Boris Johnson’s new deal ensures that we will not have one; and Nicola Sturgeon called for a guarantee on EU citizens’ rights, and Boris Johnson’s new deal provides it. Is it not the case that the SNP rails against this deal because it wants the most chaotic Brexit possible? Indeed, is it not the case that the SNP wants a no-deal Brexit? The only thing that the SNP cares about is independence, and it thinks that the shortest route to independence is via a no-deal Brexit. Is that not the real reason why Mr Russell has come to Parliament today armed not with apologies but with yet another stockpile of manufactured grievance?