CLYDEBANK POST COLUMN – 15 MARCH 2019

It’s been another remarkable week in parliament as the shambles over Brexit continues. I was pleased though to have the chance during PMQs to highlight the 78th anniversary of the Clydebank Blitz, appealing to Theresa May to become the first ever British Prime Minister to acknowledge the devastation caused by the aerial bombings of our communities on 13 and 14 March 1941.

The tribute in last week’s Clydebank Post to the 528 men, women and children who died during the Blitz was poignant. It may have taken 78 years for a Prime Minister to finally recognise the hundreds of Bankies who lost their lives, but we must not allow the silence of the past to extinguish their memory and their sacrifice.

As I write this there are just 14 days until we are due to leave the EU. And as the clock runs down Theresa May also runs the risk of becoming the first Prime Minister to deliberately plunge the UK into a recession.

Even the UK government admits that Brexit will be damaging to the economy. Whether leaving the EU with a deal or no deal at all, it’s clear it would be devastating for Scotland – costing up to 100,000 jobs and threatening a recession worse than the 2008 financial crisis.

In 2016 West Dunbartonshire, like the rest of Scotland, voted overwhelmingly to remain. I am clear that I will not vote for a Tory Brexit that will be damaging to the jobs and living standards of my constituents. Which is why I joined my SNP colleagues this week in once again voting against the Prime Minister’s damaging deal and to reject a no deal Brexit.

It’s no surprise that Theresa May’s deal was rejected overwhelmingly for the second time, but the Tories are now pushing for a third vote to try and get it through. Given this is the same Tory party seeking to deny Scots a second vote on independence, their hypocrisy is quite astonishing.

It’s clear that the UK government must now move to extend Article 50 to protect us from crashing out of the EU in two weeks’ time. The SNP believes that the only sensible way to break the deadlock over Brexit is to put it back to the people in a second referendum.

That’s supposed to be the position too of the British Labour party – as ratified by their party conference – but in the Commons this week Jeremy Corbyn shamefully instructed his MPs to sit on their hands and abstain, meaning efforts to secure a People’s Vote failed.

Westminster has again shown it cannot defend Scotland’s interests, and as ever it’s left to the SNP to stand up for the people of Scotland.

This article appeared in the Clydebank Post on 20 March 2019.