Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain a member of the European Union, and we in the SNP are doing all we can to make sure Scotland’s voice is heard and to protect Scotland’s place in Europe.
The UK Government’s Bill giving the Prime Minister the power to trigger Article 50 had its Second Reading on Tuesday 31st January and Wednesday 1st February, for which the SNP tabled a reasoned amendment which would have declined to allow the Bill to move forward. Our amendment received cross-party support from Labour, Conservative, Green, Plaid Cymru, Liberal Democrat and SDLP MPs, and was selected as the only challenge to the UK Government’s Bill to trigger Article 50. Scotland’s MPs were 58 to 1 against the Bill.
The SNP tabled 50 amendments to the legislation to ensure we had the right financial and social protections in place before the UK begins the process of leaving the EU. All 50 amendments were rejected.
The UK Government’s White Paper was published after the second reading – shamefully overdue, in comparison to the SNP Government in Scotland, who published a plan for ‘Scotland’s Place in Europe’ before Christmas.
The Tories’ White Paper is utterly underwhelming, and nothing more than a laminated copy of Theresa May’s Lancaster House speech. It gives no guarantee on even devolved powers coming back to the Scottish Parliament; it offers no clarity on the status of EU nationals; no clarity on seeking agreement with the Joint Ministerial Committee and nothing on the ‘bad deal or no deal’ reset clause.
The SNP did not vote for the triggering of Article 50 as we have not had the full details from the Prime Minister on what arrangements are in place for workers’ rights, EU nationals living in the UK, UK nationals living in the EU and the impact on the economy. The UK Government’s approach is reckless and an attempt to avoid scrutiny at every turn.