Attempt to Delay Brexit

Statement from Scottish Conservative MP’s

Today, MPs will set out legislation to put Brexit on hold for several more months. Just as all Scottish Conservative MPs supported the deal to leave the European Union earlier this year, so we will oppose this Bill this evening to put off a decision on Brexit yet again. Our reasons are as follows:

Simply extending the deadline when we leave the EU risks being left in the worst of all worlds: with yet more weeks of grinding uncertainty with the country on hold, waiting for MPs to make a decision. We continue to believe that referendum decisions must be respected – whether on the independence referendum in 2014 or the EU referendum in 2016. Failing to do so risks a fundamental breach of faith in our democracy.

Nor does extending the deadline for Brexit actually remove the possibility of a No Deal Brexit. We respect the views of those who have concerns about a No Deal Brexit, but there is nothing in this Bill that stops it from happening.

Our biggest reason however, is that by having the potential to bring down this Government and usher in a Jeremy Corbyn administration, the Bill plays into the hands of those people who are hoping to use Brexit to break up our own United Kingdom. We know Mr Corbyn will allow Nicola Sturgeon to hold another referendum on Scottish independence; indeed, his front bench minister Richard Burgon confirmed last night that “we wouldn’t seek to block” an independence referendum. The very last thing Scotland needs at the moment is another referendum, potentially leading to the break up of our own Union. Scottish Conservatives stand united in opposing anything that brings that closer. This must remain our over-riding priority.

The best way forward remains as follows: to give the Prime Minister the chance to continue working towards a Deal with the European Union. Ultimately, supporting the Government is the best way to protect Scotland’s place in the United Kingdom. We were elected on a promise to defend that position, and stop the SNP’s endless pursuit of a second referendum. That is the Scottish Conservatives number one priority, and we will not be diverted from it.