Scottish Devolution and Article 50

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:30 pm on 15th March 2017.

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Photo of Deidre Brock Deidre Brock Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader (Scottish Parliament/Scottish Government Liaison), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Devolved Government Relations) 4:30 pm, 15th March 2017

My hon. Friend makes an excellent point; what he mentioned sets a very poor precedent. When we see no action, that makes all of us doubt very much the warm words we continually hear from the Government.

We need a clear indication of what is ahead and what direction the UK Government intend to take. Further to that, we need guarantees that the Scottish people will be properly consulted and that the Scottish Parliament will be asked for its consent, just as the First Minister will ask for its consent next week when seeking a section 30 agreement. If the Prime Minister and her Government do not want to come to the negotiating table with the devolved Administration, we should be told, so that we can prepare for the coming independence referendum. It would be foolish of anyone to assume that that is an empty bluff, or that there is anything other than a hard edge to Nicola Sturgeon’s statement on Monday. The Scottish Government entered into Brexit negotiations in good faith and were met with a brick wall of intransigence. That is simply not good enough. Scotland’s interests need to be defended, and Scotland needs a future we can look to with hope.

There is time for the UK Government to salvage the situation. They can pick up the phone, speak to the Scottish Government and make a compromise deal. However, if they want to keep the UK together, they had better move soon. The Scottish Government will not hang about. Nicola Sturgeon has laid out the case clearly and eloquently: give Scotland due and proper consideration and negotiate in our best interests, or the UK will find it is leaving the EU without us.

No constitutional change is not an option for Scotland now, but we still have the choice about what kind of constitutional change we want for Scotland. The UK is leaving the EU, which at the moment would take Scotland out, but we have the option of opting out of that lemming plunge and choosing instead to be an independent European nation.