SNP MPs left the chamber yesterday in protest because Scotland has been silenced on Brexit. Because we are witnessing a constitutional crisis where the Scottish Parliament is being ignored, and because the devolution settlement has been shafted by this Tory government – yet we were not given the opportunity to debate this.
This week the Tory government pressed ahead with its power grab to keep Scotland’s powers in London – not in Scotland. They pressed ahead in direct opposition to Scotland’s elected Parliament.
The Scottish Parliament had voted by 93 votes to 30 on the EU Withdrawal Bill with the SNP, Labour, LibDems and Green refusing to give consent – with only the Tories isolated on the issue.
🤝 19 years and 1 month since the first meeting of the Scottish Parliament— The SNP (@theSNP) June 12, 2018
🗳️ 719 days since the EU referendum
How long did it take Westminster to wreck the devolution settlement tonight? pic.twitter.com/dZP7WkNAdH
The Sewel Convention established the long-held practice that the UK government cannot legislate in devolved areas without the consent of the devolved Parliament. Without legislative consent the EU Withdrawal Bill should not have been brought before the UK Parliament for debate. Yet the UK government proceeded to downgrade devolution and defy the Scottish people.
The UK government also failed to allow a single Scottish MP the opportunity to debate these important issues during the devolution debate on the EU Withdrawal Bill. That is a scandal.
The SNP cannot stand by while Scotland’s voice is silenced, while our Parliament is undermined and our devolution settlement – which Scotland overwhelmingly voted for – is put at risk.
Yesterday, I asked the Prime Minister to do the right thing. I asked that she bring forward emergency legislation so that the will of the Scottish Parliament and of the Scottish people could be heard. Again the Prime Minister failed to show respect and denied my request. I was then forced to call for the House of Commons to sit in private – using Parliament’s own procedures to ensure Scotland’s voice is heard on Brexit. For this, I was excluded, asked to leave Parliament because I had the temerity to raise the shocking way Scotland’s devolution settlement is being undermined and wrecked by this Tory government.
My colleagues walked out with me in support – amidst braying from the Tory benches. As is so often the case, Labour watched from the sidelines – they are as divided as the Tories and are now compliant bystanders in this Brexit mess.
We have a duty to stand up against the betrayal that has taken place with the Tories’ unprecedented power grab. We need to, we must and we will stand up for Scotland’s interests.
Theresa May and her dysfunctional, weak government should be in no doubt – SNP MPs will abide by our duty and stand up for all our constituents and we will do it for a very simple reason.
Events in Westminster have been absolutely outrageous.
The Tories – who fought so hard against our Parliament’s reconvening, are now trying to dismantle the 1998 devolution settlement. They think they can do anything to Scotland and get away with it. It is their hurled insults when SNP MPs stand up for Scotland that is so telling. The Tories’ respect for Scotland is skin-deep at best.
Yesterday, I was doing my job – standing up for Scotland in Westminster. History will remember this as a defining moment when the UK Parliament chose to reject devolution. This will rightly haunt the Scottish Tories for a generation.
This article originally appeared in the National.
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