Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 23rd December 2020.

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Photo of Michael Russell Michael Russell Scottish National Party

As ever, Mr Sarwar’s contribution was good in parts. I agree with him about the Conservative Party. It is astonishing that the Conservatives do not heed former Labour leader Clement Atlee’s remark to a departing cabinet member:

“A period of silence would be in order.”

That is what we should have heard. It might be too much to expect the Tories to apologise, although there are good Conservatives—well, I can see two out of the four—who, I am sure, feel embarrassed by the people who they sit among. A period of apology or of silence would be welcome.

On the question of a referendum, I am sorry to disappoint not only Mr Sarwar, but the leader of the Liberal Democrats, who was enthusiastically clapping Mr Sarwar. Willie Rennie is on a bit of a roll on that issue today. He clearly woke up and decided that independence would be his theme for today. I look forward to his question.

The reality of the situation is that Brexit and the pandemic present us with a choice about how we move forward. Should we do so by having decisions and choices made for us by the UK Tories as we currently do, and by a UK system that has failed us, that has not told us the truth and that did not tell us the truth during the 2014 referendum? Will we instead trust the talent in this Parliament—including Mr Sarwar and Mr Rennie—and choose for ourselves to make those decisions and how to move forward? If we make those decisions wisely among ourselves, we can have a prosperous future.