Monthly Archives: March 2019

HOW I VOTED IN THE INDICATIVE VOTES

Tonight I supported the amendment to support the revocation of article 50 and I opposed all measures that would possibly lead to a no deal Brexit.

I could not in full conscience support the motion which asked for a confirmatory referendum and I set out the reasons for that here. No motion secured a majority in the House.

Supporting this motion would mean that the Prime Minister’s deal (or some undefined version of Brexit) would be allowed to pass in return for some sort of unspecified confirmatory public vote. It is a measure in which we would be asked to allow a Brexit deal to proceed with the hope that those throughout the rest of the UK would then reject it. It also greatly concerns me that it does not contain a commitment to have a remain option on any future confirmatory vote ballot paper.

This problems with this were just too great for me and I could not expose my constituents to these risks  The only Brexit deal on offer is the Prime Minister’s and I would risk letting a deal pass that would make my constituents poorer; that would end freedom of movement with all its disastrous consequences for economic growth and our population issues, and that would deny our young people the opportunity to live and work freely across a continent.

This confirmatory vote also has serious consequences for our future independence referendum. In supporting this we might be expected to support a ‘confirmatory’ referendum for any deal we  negotiate with the UK to secure our independence. This would be an open invitation for those opposed to our nation’s independence to try and undermine that result and invite the UK to give us the worst possible ‘deal’ in order to reverse that result. There is also the issue that we have not secured any guarantees for Scotland’s position for our unconditional support for this confirmatory vote. There will therefore be those who will insist we respect the result of this confirmatory vote even if Scotland votes to reject the ‘deal’ and the UK votes to accept it.

My view is that the clear way forward is to get fully behind the campaign to revoke article 50 in line with how the people of Scotland voted in the EU referendum.

Eventually, though, I believe we are going to have to forcefully make the case that the only way Scotland can rescue its EU membership is as an independent nation, and regretfully conclude that a UK solution to Scotland’s continuing EU membership is unlikely to emerge.

I will continue to oppose Brexit and do everything possible to protect my constituents from the worst excesses of this chaotic Brexit.

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REVOKE, A ‘PEOPLE’s VOTE’ and SCOTLAND

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What a weekend that was in the campaign to see this Tory Brexit end and ensure our place in the European Union remains secure.

A million people marched through central London for a so-called People’s Vote, and the petition to revoke Article 50 had just passed five million at the time of writing. There is a real sense that the public want this madness to end and it’s starting to feel like the beginning of a real people’s revolt.

The petition has forced revoking Article 50 on to the agenda as a real proposition. Until this weekend, very few people in Parliament took this proposition seriously. When Angus MacNeil and I first presented this amendment to Parliament a few weeks ago it secured the support of only 12 MPs. That is because the main driver to stop Brexit has been the People’s Vote campaign. This had been presented as the only means to stop Brexit and therefore attracted all the attention

People have even tried to conflate revoke with a second referendum, with some even wanting Article 50 revoked just to start all the madness over again with another vote! It is therefore important to understand that the two are significantly different.

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Revoke would end Brexit in an afternoon. We have the “Scottish Six” to thank for this. It was they that secured the landmark judgement in the European Court which stated that the UK could unilaterally revoke Article 50. Revoke is a clear, straightforward route to rescuing the UK’s place in the EU and its simplicity is the thing that has driven so many people to sign the petition.

Revoke would also secure Scotland’s place in the European Union in line with how we voted and what we as a nation clearly want. A People’s Vote is a lot more complicated. Firstly, its advocates can’t agree on how this should be progressed and what should appear on any ballot paper.

There are also the issues for Scotland. We have not secured any protections for our national interest in a second referendum in return for our unconditional support.

If Scotland voted to remain again (which it would) and the rest of the UK voted to leave (as it very well might) we could be expected to respect the UK-wide result again.

Worse than that, the momentum for a People’s Vote is for what is called the Kyle-Wilson amendment. This is a compromise specifically to get the Labour Party off the hook in line with its almost contradictory Brexit policy. It proposes that the Commons allows the Prime Minister’s deal to pass on condition that it is then put to the people in a confirmatory referendum.

We would be asked to vote for (or at least abstain on) the Prime Minister’s deal. We would have to let a deal pass that we know would make our constituents poorer; that would end freedom of movement with all its disastrous consequences for economic growth and our population issues, that would deny our young people the opportunity to live and work across a continent

Scotland’s EU future would be out of our hands and we would have to trust a Labour Party whose leadership wants to leave the EU and can’t even say if remain would even be on the ballot paper.

It is also a “confirmatory” referendum with all the associated risks. If this principle was extended to a future successful independence referendum, Unionists would be working from the day after the vote to undermine that result and the UK would ensure we were given the worst possible “deal” in order to try to reverse the result.

Eventually Scotland is going to have to accept that the only way we are going to rescue our EU membership is as an independent country. At some point Scotland is going to have to decide whether we go down as part of Brexit Britain or make our own relationship with Europe as an independent nation.

For all the dramatic activity over the weekend, none of the proposed UK options are likely to salvage our situation. The days of a UK solution to Scotland’s EU membership are swiftly coming to an end, just as it is becoming apparently obvious that it is only the people of Scotland who can rescue our EU membership.