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

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

Alert me about debates like this

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

No, because we support remaining in the European Union. That brings me to my final point, which is about the treatment of Scotland in all of the debate. As I said to Mrs Murray, 78% of my constituents voted to remain, which was one of the highest proportions in the United Kingdom. I want to listen to and understand the people who voted to leave, but I am not afraid or ashamed to stand up for the vast majority of my constituents. Some 35 residents of Glasgow North signed this petition—it is interesting to look at its geographical spread.

The day after the 2016 referendum, the First Minister of Scotland said that we had to respect the results of both the 2014 independence referendum and the 2016 UK-wide referendum on the European Union. The Scottish Government have consistently put forward alternatives, compromises and ways forward that could respect the result of the Brexit referendum across the United Kingdom. I meant to say at the start that the SNP voted against having the Brexit referendum, as we did not think it was necessary. We are not in the position of the Liberal Democrats, who now want to revisit an answer that they did not like.

The Scottish Government have not been listened to at all. For example, we proposed ways of retaining single market or customs union membership for Scotland—and potentially for Northern Ireland and parts of the United Kingdom that had voted to remain—and none of that was paid attention to. The promises made to people in Scotland, both in 2014 and 2016, have been broken. The major promise in 2014 was that voting no to independence guaranteed that Scotland remained a member of the European Union, which has proven to be false.

In these circumstances, the people of Scotland will come to the conclusion that it is not the European Union that is failing, but the Union of the United Kingdom; they will choose their own course, whether through a referendum or at a general election, and choose to take back control for themselves. As alluded to by the hon. Member for Bath, independent countries nowadays are defined by their interdependence; a country is known to be independent precisely because it is a member of the United Nations, because it has chosen to pool sovereignty through the European Union or because it has chosen to join any number of international organisations. That is the positive trend that the world should be aiming for, but instead Brexit represents a retrograde step.