It is with deep regret and great sadness that UK is set to leave the EU today.
Voters were promised, in the 2019 general election, that the current UK Government would “Get Brexit Done”, we are far from getting it done as we head into the transition period.
A no-deal Brexit is still possible at the end 2020, and it is crucial that action is taken immediately to avoid a catastrophic hard-Brexit, which will hurt our economy, throw uncertainty upon citizen’s rights and have potentially life-threatening consequences in our health sector.
My SNP colleagues and I will continue to work constructively, and across party lines, to try and deliver as soft an impact as possible, but the numerical reality of this Parliament means the Conservatives are likely to force through a deal of any form that they want.
I have done my utmost to honour the expressed wishes of the people of my own constituency and the vast majority Scotland – who voted to remain in the EU – which is why I voted to stop Brexit, and why I will continue to voice my support for Scotland to be part of the EU.
To that end, it is vital that we now give the people of Scotland the chance to have a say over their own future.
As a result of Brexit, I know there are many of people across this nation that will be feeling a sense of loss and possible anxiety, but it is my job as an MP to ensure we move forward together so that Scotland’s pro-European voice remains heard.
The results of the 2019 general election made it clear that Scotland wants the opportunity to secure a European future in an independence referendum.
I look forward to working together to ensure Scotland soon becomes part of that collective group of independent countries that come together for the good of all to protect workers, tackle climate change, preserve peace and guarantee our freedom of movement – which happens through membership of the EU.
Whilst today is a day of deep sadness, I remain hopeful that one day, in the not too distant future, Scotland will take its rightful place at the table as an independent country within the EU.
This Saturday Parliament will debate the Prime Minister’s revised deal with the European Union. This deal is for all intents and purposes a revision of the deal Theresa May had reached with the EU earlier this year, which was rejected by the House in January and March of this year.
I, alongside all other SNP MPs, voted against Theresa May’s deal in January and in March. That deal did not protect Scotland’s interests. Scotland, in the referendum on leaving the European Union, voted overwhelmingly in favour to remain, and therefore for us to be able to accept a Brexit deal we would need to ensure that either the UK as a whole remains in the EU single market and customs union – or that Scotland is given a special arrangement comparable to the Northern Irish backstop.
Our preference was and remains to remain in the EU, but it is only in that case that we could have entertained the possibility of voting for a Brexit deal.
I will not support the Prime Minister’s renegotiated deal. Nothing has fundamentally changed to enable us in the SNP to support this deal. Neither of the scenarios we were willing to sign up to has been entertained.
The only significant difference between this deal and Theresa May’s deal is that it guarantees even less access to the single market – the UK’s commitment to “a trading relationship that is as close as possible” has been replaced by merely a commitment to a free trade agreement. This will mean even higher barriers to trade and greater economic damage for the people of Scotland and Glasgow South.
Throughout the Brexit process over the last three years, the Scottish Government have sought to constructively engage with the UK government and find a compromise that would respect key economic, social and human rights protections for people in Scotland and the rest of the UK. The UK Government’s failure to provide a valid alternative is on them.
I will not support this deal, alongside my SNP colleagues. I will vote to reject this deal, secure a Brexit extension and hold a general election to break the current parliamentary deadlock.
Stewart McDonald MP has accused the Prime Minister of hiding behind her Cabinet colleagues over questions that Vote Leave committed fraud during the 2016 EU referendum campaign.
Stewart McDonald, MP for Glasgow South, said the Prime Minister should halt the Brexit process and set up a judge-led inquiry to investigate disinformation and allegations of dodgy funding in the Leave campaign.