The SNP favours retaining Single Market access, which facilitates the benefits of EU citizenship. We have sought to be cooperative in the UK framework, and have attempted to mitigate the effects of a Brexit that the people that we were appointed to represent (i.e. the Scottish people) didn’t vote for.
We want all EU citizens and Scots to be able to continue to enjoy the benefits of free movement, and the benefits of common European infrastructures such as health insurance regimes and mobile roaming.
Of course, the SNP has never wanted Scotland to leave the EU, and believes that the EU underpins the growth potential of our country by giving us open access to the world’s largest market, both in terms of free trade and the free investment of capital. Within this is the free movement of labour – this ending will, at best, have a disruptive impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, and at worst a situation where people with friends, work, or family across European borders will no longer be able to live as they once did.
Aside from the very tangible economic implications of a hard Brexit, the implications for long valued members of our communities makes the notion unacceptable on principle to the SNP.
Ian Blackford has said that the ‘UK Government cannot and will not get away with any curbs on citizens’ rights’, and has called on the British Government to uphold “to the letter” the rights of all Europeans in the UK. The SNP has consistently called for reciprocal freedom of movement between the UK and the EU after Brexit.
The UK Government has made guarantees in the negotiations to protect the rights of EU citizens that have already settled in the UK – the SNP wants this guarantee to be unconditional, and not contingent on future UK-EU negotiations.
The UK Government supports introducing registration fees for people that may have lived in our country for decades – the SNP finds this unacceptable.
A visa regime will inevitably need to be established unless EU citizens are given unique statutory rights in the UK. The Government’s position is incompatible with the fundamental founding principles of the EU, and as such UK citizens and businesses will lose the benefits of EU access if it continues with its destructive, isolationist approach.
Of course it was the now Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, who pledged during the EU referendum campaign that immigration powers would be devolved to Scotland if the UK voted to leave the EU. The SNP will hold the Secretary of State to his word and continue to campaign for immigration powers to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament.