SNP MP: ‘Dismiss Scottish people’s voice on Brexit at your peril’

Patricia Gibson was speaking in the House of Commons
Patricia Gibson was speaking in the House of Commons
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Theresa May’s Conservative Government is “hopelessly divided against itself” as the UK faces its “biggest challenge” of Brexit, an SNP MP has said.

Patricia Gibson warned the people of Scotland “will not have their voices overridden by Westminster without consequence, dismiss them at your peril”.

Speaking during her Westminster Hall debate on the implications for Scotland of leaving the EU, the MP for North Ayrshire and Arran said a lot of people had watched the unfolding of the Brexit process with “horror and alarm”.

She said: “I don’t think anybody can deny that we have a UK governing party that is hopelessly divided against itself as the UK faces arguably the biggest challenge and upheaval it has faced probably since the Second World War.

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“The Cabinet doesn’t speak with one voice, it speaks with several confused and contradictory voices, so how can it enter into any negotiations with the EU inspiring any sort of confidence from any quarter?”

The UK Government’s own leaked analysis she said had shown Scotland’s GDP could face a hit of up to 9%.

A hard Brexit she added would expose the country to a “regulatory race to the bottom that would compromise our trading relationships and consumer standards” and see a “bonfire of British workers’ rights”.

Ms Gibson argued the “hostile environment” created would drive EU citizens to leave the UK.

She warned of the consequences of a breakdown of trust over the SNP’s “power grab” concerns in relation to the Government’s Brexit legislation.

She said: “Those who value the Union beware, beware that whenever the next referendum on Scottish independence comes - and come it will - the debate has been crystallised... like never before.

“Every day this Tory Government demonstrates just a little bit more that they cannot be trusted by the people of Scotland... (they) are sovereign and will not have their voices overridden by Westminster without consequence, dismiss them at your peril.”

Conservative Stephen Kerr (Stirling) said there was a need to pull together to make a success of Brexit, adding: “The SNP want to create an air of constitutional crisis but Scotland is not buying any of that talk, and people are sick and tired of the SNP’s obsession with a second independence referendum.”

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Tory Colin Clark (Gordon) said the results of the Scottish independence and EU referendums must be respected, adding that “done correctly Brexit can provide many exiting opportunities for Scotland”.

SNP Joanna Cherry (Edinburgh South West) said: “The people of Scotland are not masters of their own fate because they are being taken out of the EU against their democratic will.”

She called on the UK Government to acknowledge the fact the Scottish Parliament had withheld legislative consent to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill and bring forward emergency legislation.

Responding, Brexit minister Robin Walker said: “The Government is clear that we want a deal that works for the whole UK.”

On EU citizens, he added: “I think the environment has been welcoming.”

Four times as much of Scotland’s business was with the UK compared with Europe, he said, adding that the worst thing for Scottish jobs and businesses would be to split from the UK.

He said: “The UK Government made substantial and reasonable modifications to provisions in the EU (Withdrawal) Act during its passage, those changes were the result of joint working that we undertook with the Scottish and Welsh Governments.”

The legislation he said “does respect” the devolution settlement, adding the Government was “disappointed” the Scottish Government did not choose to give consent.

Throughout the process he said the UK Government had acted in line with the Sewel Convention, adding the interests of the people of Scotland were best served when Holyrood and Westminster worked together.