Leaving the European Union — [David Hanson in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 5:17 pm on 4th February 2019.

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Photo of Patrick Grady Patrick Grady SNP Chief Whip 5:17 pm, 4th February 2019

I take that point. Nevertheless, jobs are at risk and there is massive uncertainty, and it is in large part to do with the cliff edge that we face because of Brexit.

From the SNP’s point of view, three things should happen, two of which are related. One of the effects of extending article 50 would be to rule out a no-deal Brexit. As I said, 29 March was just picked and written on a bit of paper. Frankly, that is true of all the Brexit negotiations. All this comes down to people in a room being willing to talk to one another. It is not rocket science. It is not changing the fundamental laws of physics. It is about there being political will among the negotiating parties to speak to each other and reach an agreement.

Of course, we are still in the European Union. We will continue to be members until such time as something called Brexit does or does not take effect. The easiest option—the simplest, safest and best option—is to continue on those terms. As Wera Hobhouse said, by definition, the best possible relationship with the European Union is membership; otherwise, nobody would want to be a member. Everybody would want the better deal. Everybody would want those terms and conditions. The point of leaving has to be that somehow we will have more benefits because of our relationships with the rest of the world, but there is absolutely no evidence of that. All the trade treaties we were told we would have simply are not in place.