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less access to the single market – the UK’s commitment to “a trading relationship that is as close as possible” has been replaced by merely a commitment to a free trade agreement.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.
The draft deal the Prime Minister has brought back does not protect Scotland’s interests. We need to ensure either the UK remains in the Single Market and Customs Union, or Scotland should have its own special arrangement like is reportedly to be the case for Northern Ireland.
As the deal stands, we in the SNP would vote against.
The SNP Group Leader in Westminster has called for the Prime Minister to extend Article 50 and build a consensus for continued membership of the single market and the customs union.
Only then would we consider supporting this least damaging Brexit option. I would rather the UK did not leave the EU.
Another option would be to support a People’s Vote on Brexit, which I would vote for if the opportunity arose in the House of Commons. But, we must ensure that Scotland is once again not put in a position where the country votes to remain in the EU, but is dragged out anyway as a result of votes elsewhere.
Events of the past few days have made it clear that the Prime Minister cannot command a majority in the House of Commons for her Brexit deal.
I will not support it, and urge her go to back and secure a deal that meets the expressed wishes of the people of Scotland – who voted to remain in the EU.
If there is an opportunity to give people another say to reaffirm our desire to stay in the EU then I, and other SNP MPs, would back it.
That includes seeking an extension of the Article 50 negotiating period, voting for a new referendum on Brexit if that choice is put to the House of Commons and seeking to build consensus for continued membership of the single market and the customs union.
Whilst my party colleagues and I would vote, unconditionally, for a People's Vote on Brexit, we must ensure that Scotland is once again not put in a position where the country votes to remain in the EU, but is dragged out anyway as a result of votes elsewhere.
The democratic deficit has been clearer than ever over the past two years.
I am still of the mind-set that the best future for Scotland is an active member of the EU. Whilst I support a People's Vote, as people may be changing their mind as the Brexit circumstances unfold, a repeat of the outcome from the 2016 EU referendum that saw Scotland vote to remain, but still faced with being taken out of the EU against our will would be unacceptable.
Should the People’s Vote arise in Parliament, I would vote for it, but we must ensure Scotland’s voice is heard and respected should there be another vote. Otherwise, , it won’t resolve the same issue that Scotland faced in 2016 and we’d face exit anyway.
Whilst I still maintain it is wrong that Scotland be taken out of the EU against its wishes, and we should be working hard towards retaining our place in the Single Market, we still have important work to do to ensure the Brexit Bill protects everybody’s interests.
I have received a lot of messages from constituents regarding the Grieve amendments and delegated powers. These are extremely important, and several of my SNP colleagues across the House have sponsored these amendments.
We in the SNP are extremely concerned about the potential power grab the Brexit Bill throws up. The Bill is going to be an unprecedented legislative task, aiming to convert 80,000 items of EU law into UK law in preparation for Brexit, and we want to make sure that the Government does not use antiquated, backdoor measures – the so-called Henry VIII powers – to escape parliamentary scrutiny. We also need to ensure that the Great Repeal Bill does not turn into the ‘Great Power Grab’ and the Tories need to make it unequivocally clear that devolved matters will be returned to the Scottish Parliament after Brexit.
Should the Bill present such threats and the amendments address these concerns, I will vote in favour of the amendments, continue to hold the UK Government to account and continue to defend the interests of Scotland.
I myself have added my name to amendments and new clauses. As SNP Spokesperson for Defence, I aim to ensure our common foreign and security policy with the EU is not compromised as a result of Brexit and have added my name to amendments that address such issues. Additionally, as I was previously member of the Transport Select Committee, I have also added my name to an amendment that would ensure the UK Government outlines how we retain access to EU Emissions Trading System markets – as this is crucial to our environmental protection and safeguards.
These amendments, along with the UK Government's bizarre attempts to enshrine the date and time of Brexit into UK law, which could result in this Tory Government blundering its way to no deal, deserve to be heavily scrutinised, and I shall be doing my up-most to protect the interests of Glasgow South and Scotland as a whole.