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Referendum on Scottish Independence — [Mr Adrian Bailey in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:58 pm on 13th November 2017.

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Photo of Douglas Ross Douglas Ross Conservative, Moray 4:58 pm, 13th November 2017

Thank you very much, Mr Bailey. It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship. I say not as a point of order but perhaps to put it on the record that I am extremely disappointed that in 26 minutes Martyn Day, speaking on behalf of the Petitions Committee and looking at two petitions, spent most of that time on the petition for a second independence referendum, which was supported by 38,000 people, and almost ignored the 221,000 people who supported the petition against a second independence referendum. I hope that after the debate the Petitions Committee will reflect on who it nominates to speak in such debates to ensure that petitions discussed together get equal merit.

In Moray in 2014, as in many parts of Scotland, people were engaged and encouraged to get involved in the independence referendum, but they did so in the clear knowledge that it was a one-in-a-generation event—a once-in-a-lifetime event. Indeed, as I said in my intervention, both the current leader and previous leader of the Scottish National party said there would be one opportunity—one opportunity for people to say whether they supported independence or opposed the separation plans of the SNP. In Moray, there was a 58% vote saying “No, thanks” to independence. I was proud to be part of the campaign, but I was immediately disappointed by the SNP’s continued campaigning, and its continuing with the separation narrative despite the conclusive result of the 2014 referendum.

Because of that, the party that apparently governed Scotland was so obsessed with separation and independence that it took its eye off the ball in doing the day job. The SNP has had a continued central belt bias in the Scottish Parliament, moving towards centralising a number of issues. For example, Police Scotland is currently without a chief constable. The Scottish Police Authority has been without a chairman since June, and now they want to integrate the British Transport Police into Police Scotland. Already the organisation of Police Scotland is under significant strain, yet the SNP wants to centralise further.