Is SNP secretly working for no-deal Brexit to win independence? – Ian Murray MP

Ian Blackford, the SNP leader at Westminster, addresses MPs (Picture: /AFP/Getty Images)
Ian Blackford, the SNP leader at Westminster, addresses MPs (Picture: /AFP/Getty Images)
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It’s not just voters in the UK who are increasingly exasperated with Parliament’s failure to break the Brexit deadlock, writes Ian Murray MP.

Anger is growing across the Continent, and the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier has today warned that a no-deal scenario is now more likely.

That would be calamitous for Edinburgh, for Scotland, and for the UK – and it is incumbent on every MP who cares about workers’ jobs and our economy to prevent this happening.

There is no such thing as a good Brexit. That is beyond doubt.

But, to avoid the worst-case scenario next week, and with parliament bitterly divided, it is vital that we consider compromises to avoid falling off that cliff edge. The time for purity on this issue has gone.

That’s why in last night’s round of indicative votes I supported all four options: revoking Article 50 as a last resort; a public vote; the common market; and the minimum of a customs union.

None of these options passed, but the customs union option could have done so if SNP MPs had followed their party policy and voted for it. This is the second time they have refused to.

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This proposal – which everyone in parliament knew had the best chance of passing - set out a customs union as an absolute bare ‘minimum’ which could be built upon, protecting jobs and our economy. They claim it is because it didn’t include freedom of movement, but it was a minimum and the word compromise comes back to mind.

It begs the question: did SNP MPs sit on their hands to ensure there is maximum chaos and uncertainty?

We all know the SNP only really cares about splitting up the UK and boosting support for independence. That is what their Commons leader, Ian Blackford, said in response last night.

If we crash out of the EU with a hard Brexit, history will not look kindly on those who play political games at this time of crisis and refuse to compromise.

The most encouraging aspect of last night’s votes was that the proposal for a public vote topped the list once again.

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As we consider what to do next, the priority must be to apply for an extension to Article 50 so that we can put the real Brexit choice to the British people: leave with the Prime Minister’s deal or remain in the EU.

This is a time for compromise. The Prime Minister must, for the first time, agree to a compromise too, put the country ahead of the Tory party, and put her deal to the people for their confirmation.

Ian Murray is Labour MP for Edinburgh South