If Labour backs Theresa May’s Brexit deal, it will be a betrayal of Scotland

The Westminster parties seem to be on a mission to cause maximum chaos and damage to Scotland’s economy and public services.

In the House of Commons, the past week has seen Tory and Labour MPs vote once again to drag Scotland out of the EU against our will, and ever closer to a Brexit that will destroy jobs and living standards.

Worse still, there are growing signs Jeremy Corbyn is gearing up to facilitate Theresa May’s Brexit deal. Media briefings are emerging that Labour is planning to join with the Tories to block a second EU referendum and prevent any chance of the UK staying in the EU.

This will come as no surprise to anyone who has followed recent events. Just last Monday, Labour MPs had to be shamed into voting against the UK Government’s xenophobic Immigration Bill after it emerged they initially planned to abstain.

If Labour choose to back the Tories on Brexit, and act as the midwives to May’s deal, they will be just as culpable for the harm it will cause and for every job lost as a result. Labour should know an entire generation will never forgive them for betraying the interests of our country. At Holyrood, too, the Better Together parties have been working hand-in-hand in a failed attempt to prevent the Scottish Government from passing its Budget.

All in the vain hope of engineering a crisis and scoring petty political points – at the expense of the country.

This kind of behaviour is expected from the Tories, who always put their party interests first. But Labour and the Lib Dems refusing to engage in talks and ruling out doing any deal is not the kind of grown-up politics that people rightly expect from their MSPs.

Perhaps the most fundamental role of any parliament is to agree a Budget – the spending plans needed to fund our public services, deliver financial support for families, and invest in the economy.

Budget talks can be tough and tense – but for political parties to refuse to engage in these is a dereliction of duty.

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard even went to the extent of reprimanding those Labour MSPs who tried to reach a compromise – forcing his local government spokesman Alex Rowley to withdraw a letter offering the Scottish Government terms for support.

In stark contrast, and to their credit, the Scottish Greens did engage positively. They championed their own spending priorities and then, like adults, they reached an agreement with the SNP Government to pass a progressive budget.

As a result, the Scottish Government’s Budget will ensure record funding for our NHS and education system, cash to build affordable housing, more money to tackle poverty and mitigate Tory cuts, and investment in infrastructure, transport and our cities and regions.

But as Finance Secretary Derek Mackay pointed out, the success of our economy continues to be under threat from Tory and Labour plans for Brexit – which could see the UK crash out of the EU.

The past week has highlighted the difference between the Scottish Government, which is getting on with the day job and taking Scotland forward, and the Westminster parties, which continue to fail Scotland and are now taking us to the brink of disaster.

This article originally appeared in the Daily Record.