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less access to the single market – the UK’s commitment to “a trading relationship that is as close as possible” has been replaced by merely a commitment to a free trade agreement.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.