Ian Blackford – 2019 Speech on Brexit

Below is the text of the speech made by Ian Blackford, the SNP MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber, in the House of Commons on 22 May 2019.

It is customary to thank the Prime Minister for advance sight of her statement. It was some surprise that we all saw the statement being delivered not in the House of Commons but elsewhere yesterday. Why was the usual protocol of Parliament being the first to hear such statements from the Prime Minister not followed?

Let me give the Prime Minister some friendly advice: this deal is dead. Stop the charade, and let us get on with putting the decision back to the people once and for all. The headlines this morning cry of doom. Conservative Members are concentrating on ways to mount a leadership coup. Where are they? That is exactly what they are doing this afternoon—they are not here to support the Prime Minister.

This is no way to run a Government. The Prime Minister is asking MPs to vote for a deal that takes Scotland out of the single market and eventually out of the customs union. That simply cannot be allowed to happen. This is a rookie Government attempting to blackmail MPs. If we look behind the smoke and mirrors, we see a new, revised deal that has not even been negotiated with Brussels; a second EU referendum, but only if we vote for the Bill; a possible temporary customs union that a future UK Government could change and the European Union has dismissed; and a trade tariff arrangement that the former UK representative to the EU has described as “the definition of insanity”.

None of what the Prime Minister announced yesterday was discussed with the devolved Government in Edinburgh. This goes to the heart of the problem. In December 2016, the Scottish Government published a compromise position, which was rejected without discussion. Scotland’s voice has been ignored time and again. Brexit has meant powers being stripped away from the Scottish Parliament. There is no respect for the devolved Administrations by this Government. Westminster has ignored Scotland.

This is a sorry mess. Look around—there is no support for the Prime Minister’s deal. This deal faces an even bigger defeat than the last vote. Tomorrow, communities will make their voices heard in our democratic European elections. A vote for the Scottish National party is a vote to stop Brexit, a vote to stop this economic madness and a vote to respect Scotland’s decision in 2016. The Prime Minister has lost the confidence of her party. Parliament will not support her, and she has lost the trust of the people. It is time to go, Prime Minister. Will you do it?