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Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 18th August 2020.

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Photo of Michael Russell Michael Russell Scottish National Party

No, I will not. The member has had his opportunity. I want to respond to the points that have been made, and I shall come to Mr Lockhart’s points in a moment.

The second point that was common to the Tory speeches was an assertion that there are lots of powers that we would just give away again if we rejoined the EU. The reality is that there are not lots of powers coming back—that is absolutely clear. The assertion is simply untrue, but it says something about the Tories’ view of the EU. Tory members do not recognise that a Scotland that was an independent member of the EU would have vastly more powers than Scotland has as a member of the UK—that is irrefutable. The idea that being a member of the EU simply means handing powers to Brussels is, at worst, just a tabloid invention and, at best, simply the Tory party philosophy.

Let me make absolutely clear a third point that underpins those contributions. Scotland voted to remain in the EU—a fact that has simply been ignored by every Tory member. They do not want to see the reality of the situation. Scotland does not want to have the Tories drag us out of Europe—that, too, is irrefutable.

It is hard to decide which was the worst of all the dire speeches, but it really has to be Peter Chapman’s for one particular reason. It was an encyclopaedia of irrelevance—a cornucopia of nonsense and negativity—but one thing really worried me. Mr Chapman asserted that Scotland would not become a member of the EU if it were independent. On one side of that argument we have Peter Chapman; on the other side we have Van Rompuy, a former President of the European Council, Lord Kerr and endless EU diplomats and others. Who would members trust—the former President of the European Council or Peter Chapman? I know who I would trust.

Peter Chapman is grinning as though there would be some virtue in being put in that situation. What worries me is that anybody—whether they were in Scotland or not—could somehow be happy that a small, talented country such as Scotland would be refused membership of the EU. I find that extraordinary. What is more extraordinary is that somebody who is a member of the Scottish Parliament could be happy with that.