Tomorrow, Theresa May will ask MPs to vote again on the same botched Brexit deal that Parliament already overwhelmingly rejected in January, in the biggest defeat for any UK government in history.
With just two weeks left until the UK is due to crash out of the EU, it is staggering that the Tory Government is still no further forward.
No significant changes have been made to the rejected deal and Tory Ministers haven’t even attempted to address Scotland’s wishes in the negotiations.
Instead, May has done exactly what we all suspected. She has run down the clock in a desperate attempt to blackmail, bribe and beg MPs into backing her deal.
She has focused all her efforts on placating the extreme Brexiteers in the Tory Party and she has embarked on a cynical spending spree of Brexit bungs – handing out hundreds of millions in taxpayers’ money to buy off the opposition.
The Tory leader knows that, in all good conscience, MPs could not support her damaging deal, so she has engaged in pork barrel politics.
With more Brexit bungs announced this week, Northern Ireland has now been given £1.14billion by the Tory Government in exchange for DUP support, while Leave-voting areas in England will also get £1.6billion in an attempt to shore up Labour support for Brexit.
Of course, to date, Scotland hasn’t received a single penny of the billions it is rightly owed under the Barnett formula as a result of this spending.
Whether or not we receive that money, I would urge MPs across Parliament to stand by their principles and the clear interests of their constituents.
The fact remains that leaving the EU with May’s bad deal, or with no deal at all, would be devastating for Scotland – costing up to 100,000 jobs and threatening to cause a recession worse than the 2008 financial crisis. May’s deal is fundamentally flawed and no amount of tinkering around the edges will take away from the fact that it would cause lasting harm to jobs, living standards, public services and the economy.
Future generations would never forgive us if we allowed it to pass.
That’s why the SNP will be putting forward an amendment to reject May’s deal, rule out a no-deal Brexit, and recognise the sovereign right of the Scottish people to determine our own future.
Scotland voted decisively to remain in the EU and we should not be dragged out against our will. If Westminster is determined to plough ahead with Brexit, regardless of the serious and lasting damage it will do to our interests, then the people of Scotland must have the right to decide our own destiny.
🏴 @NicolaSturgeon: “It is because Scotland is not independent that we have to put up with a Tory Government that we didn’t vote for.
— The SNP (@theSNP) March 7, 2019
Scotland does not have to hit the Tory Brexit iceberg and go down with Theresa May’s sinking ship. If Westminster continues to ignore our wishes and act against our interests, then we have other options – including becoming an equal, full, sovereign, independent Member State of the European Union, like so many of our neighbours.
The side-lining of Scotland throughout the Brexit process has demonstrated, beyond doubt, that Scotland is not treated as an equal partner in the UK.
The Brexit crisis has shown the cost to Scotland when decisions about our future are taken at Westminster instead of here.
Tomorrow night, a majority of Scotland’s MPs will vote to reject May’s deal and recognise the mandate that the Scottish Parliament has to hold an independence referendum.
That mandate is undeniable. The SNP won the 2016 Scottish Parliament election and the 2017 Westminster election on an explicit manifesto commitment to hold a referendum if Scotland was dragged out of the EU against its will.
We do not have to accept that this is as good as it gets. The Tories must respect that right and stop running scared of democracy.
This article originally appeared in the Daily Record.