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

That is highly amusing. They voted to remain under the conditions we currently have. I will come back to what the relationship between Scotland and the European Union should be.

I believe we should remain—I believe that is the best option—but the point is that people should now be given a choice, because we now know what leave looks like. The Prime Minister set red lines—incidentally, I think she did so without the agreement even of her Cabinet; she announced them at the Mansion House or somewhere equally grand up the street. She did not set them after consulting on a cross-party basis, as she is now trying to do, or after putting forward a proposal or a Bill for the whole House to agree. They were set arbitrarily. Having set those arbitrary red lines, the deal now is probably, more or less, the only deal that could have been got. The Prime Minister wants to leave the ECJ, to stop free movement of people, to be able to negotiate our own independent trade deals, and whatever the fourth one is. Those red lines are very restrictive, and they inevitably lead us to a much more damaging relationship than the one we have or one we could have. Nevertheless, if we set those red lines, that is the deal we get.

That deal should be put to the people. Why should they not have the opportunity to have their say? What are the Brexiteers afraid of? If the Prime Minister’s deal is so glorious—if it is going to launch mother Britannia into a new position of ruling the waves, global leadership and all the rest of it—why are they so afraid to put it back to the people? Why would people not vote for it? The Environment Secretary said to me in the main Chamber a couple of weeks ago that other countries would be looking enviously at the United Kingdom’s deal. If that is the case, why would the people of the United Kingdom not back it in a people’s vote?