Westminster parties are incapable of serving Scotland’s interests – and always will be

The shambolic events of recent weeks and months have made it clear that Westminster is incapable of standing up for Scotland’s interests – and always will be.

It is staggering to think that we are now just five weeks away from crashing out of the EU, yet the Tory government and Labour opposition are still focused on the bitter divisions within their own warring parties, instead of the future of Scotland and the UK.

We have a Prime Minister who is so arrogant and reckless that she has decided she will simply ignore the fact that her damaging Brexit deal was overwhelmingly rejected in the biggest parliamentary defeat of any UK government in history.

Instead of reaching out and building consensus, Theresa May has decided to run down the clock and keep bringing back the same botched deal in a cynical attempt to blackmail MPs.

The Tory leader is gambling that MPs will eventually cave in to prevent her taking us out of the EU with no deal.

We know that leaving the EU with May’s bad deal, or with no deal at all, would inflict lasting harm on Scotland, destroying jobs and putting people on the dole, causing local businesses to close, slashing economic growth and damaging living standards.

No prime minister in their right mind should even be contemplating a no-deal Brexit, yet May is willingly taking us to the brink of catastrophe. In a bid to cling on to power and hold her divided party together, she has decided the jobs and livelihoods of people across the UK are worth sacrificing.

We know the UK Government isn’t remotely prepared for the damage Brexit will do.

Hopeless Tory Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling MP, was forced to scrap the Government’s £13.8million contract with Seaborne Freight. The company had been awarded a contract to run a freight service in the event of a no-deal Brexit – even though it had no ships.

Every day, we hear new stories about the huge amounts of taxpayers’ money the UK Government is wasting on its plans to take us out of the EU with no deal – plans which our public services, businesses and experts have made clear would be a total disaster. Even supplies of food and medicine would be at risk.

May is behaving like a petulant child, not a prime minister. By throwing a tantrum and threatening to smash up the country with a no-deal Brexit if she doesn’t get her way, she is proving that the Tories aren’t remotely fit for office.

Yet, at this time of national crisis, the Labour Party is missing in action – failing to provide the leadership that is desperately needed.

Like the Tories, they are consumed with an internal civil war and are putting the narrow interests of their party before those of the country.

That was clear on Thursday, when Labour joined the Tories to vote down a crucial SNP amendment for an immediate extension to Article 50.

The amendment would had required the UK Government to put the breaks on Brexit – to give time to find a credible way to protect jobs and living standards and to hold a second EU referendum with the opportunity to remain.

Forty-one Labour MPs rebelled against Jeremy Corbyn to vote for the SNP amendment – joining SNP, Plaid Cymru, Green and Lib Dem MPs, although a majority of Scottish Labour MPs joined their Tory colleagues in voting against Scotland’s interests.

Labour needs to decide whether it will continue to act as the midwife of a Tory Brexit – or whether it will finally join the SNP in defending Scotland’s democratic decision to stay in the EU.

Either way, it is clear that Westminster is failing Scotland. We did not vote for Brexit and we must not be dragged out of the EU against our will.

If Westminster is unwilling to protect our interests, Scotland must find a way to save itself from this crisis.

This article originally appeared in the Daily Record.