Yesterday was the day when every Scot, regardless of political leaning should have been conclusively made aware the disrespect that the majority of the Westminster parliament and in particular the current British government hold them in.
I can only call much of the governments disdain towards not just the SNP but the wishes of the people of Scotland to be heard as being despicable.
If anyone was in any doubt of the vacuity of the statements made previously by Westminster, of Scotland being a valued equal partner in the Union, yesterdays debate at the committee stage of the European (Notice of Withdrawal) Bill should have shown them up for being the utter dross that they were.
The events which followed in the 7 hours of debate, finishing at midnight, would have left those few that watched them threatening to destroy their television sets in anger.
3 major amendments from those of the devolved administrations of Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, asking that they be consulted properly by the Westminster government with respect to matters which directly impacted on each of these Countries be respected, were each dismissed out of hand by Westminster. On the 2 of the amendments with regards to Northern Ireland and Wales Labour voted in favour of the amendments so their loss was not by all that much of a majority. The Scottish amendment was utterly trounced because Labour abstained.
However the manner in which the SNP were dealt with, and the manner in which they were denied voice was incredible. In the whole 7 hours, they were afforded a mere 4 speakers. While 2 Torys took up a third of the time available filibustering for half an hour each in order to deny debate, the scenes involving Joanna Cherry MP as she sought to speak was beyond belief.
I rise to speak in support of amendment 46, which stands in my name and that of my hon. Friends, but before that I would like to take the opportunity to thank Conservative Members who have spoken this evening for their quite extraordinary display of hubris and contempt towards amendments, laid by several different parties, that simply seek to make sure that the reality of the modern British constitution and devolved settlement is respected. Those of us who believe that Scotland would be better off managing its own affairs as an independent member of the EU will have received a huge boost this evening from their behaviour. It was a pleasure to listen to the speech of the hon. Member for Foyle (Mark Durkan). I am sure he will forgive me if I say that I suspect that the cause of a united Ireland has also received a boost this evening. I very much hope so.
I will be brief so that others from my party might have a chance to speak. The purpose of amendment 46 is to require the Prime Minister to obtain the legislative consent of the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly and the Northern Irish Assembly before she triggers article 50. It is a pleasure to have the opportunity to correct the hon. Member for North West Cambridgeshire (Mr Vara) and his woeful misunderstanding of what the Supreme Court did, and did not say, in relation to legislative consent motions. It said that, as currently framed in the Scotland Act, it is not legally enforceable. It did not say that it had no meaning whatsoever. The hon. Member for Foyle quoted paragraph 151 of the judgment, and I very much suggest that Conservative Members read the judgment, rather than simply taking from it what they want. It said:
“The Sewel Convention has an important role in facilitating harmonious relationships between the UK parliament and the devolved legislatures. But the policing of its scope and the manner of its operation does not lie within the constitutional remit of the judiciary”.
I am not going to give way. I am going to—
Order. I ask the hon. and learned Lady to take her seat. I have been very kind in bringing in the SNP, and I ask that she not take advantage of the time—[Interruption.] Order. I wanted to share the time, so I hope that she is coming to an end, so that we can get one more speaker in, as I promised I would do by allowing her to speak.
The purpose of the amendment is to require the Government to do what they said they would do when they introduced the Scotland Act, which was to make the Scottish Parliament the most powerful devolved Parliament in the world, and give it a say in a process that will fundamentally affect the rights of Scottish citizens and Scottish business. [Interruption.] I noted that Government Members were given as much time as they wanted to make their points, and I intend to take as much time, as is my right, to make my points.
Order. I think that the hon. and learned Lady’s speech has come to an end. Let us now please hear from the Minister.
Thank you, Mr Hoyle. [Interruption.]
Mr Salmond, you should know better. [Interruption.] Order. One second.
On a point of order, Mr Hoyle. It is clear that my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Edinburgh South West (Joanna Cherry) had not resumed her seat, Sir. Being in the Chair accords you many privileges, but you cannot reinterpret the wishes of an hon. Member who is on her feet.
As the occupant of the Chair, I have the right to make decisions in this Committee. [Interruption.] Just a moment. I rightly wanted to bring in the hon. and learned Lady, which I did. When the SNP Whip comes and asks me to give a couple of minutes to ensure that the SNP has another voice, which I did, I certainly do not expect advantages to be taken of the Chair on the agreement that I met. That is the issue. Sit down.
Thank you for your chairing of this debate, Mr Hoyle. [Interruption.]
Calm down, Mr Wishart. This is a very serious matter. It is so serious that I want to hear what the Minister has to say in response to where we are. It is very serious and I want to hear it.
This is a hugely important debate. [Interruption.]
Order. Mr Salmond, will you clarify something for me?
Other Members have been making their contributions without any admonition from the Chair.
Order. Tempers are running quite high. We need to calm it down. In fairness, I have been very generous in coming into the Chair—[Interruption.] Mr Wishart, we do not need any extra help for the moment. Let me say that I want to hear, and Mr Salmond would expect to hear, what the Minister has to say in response to the opening speeches. I believe Mr Salmond would have wanted answers. The fact is that this Committee wants to hear what the Minister has to say. The last thing I wanted to do was to take up time dealing with points of order. In the end, if we do that, we will not hear from the Minister. I understand that you, Mr Salmond, may have used some unparliamentary language to me, but I am sure that you are not that kind of person and I am sure you did not do so.
I did not.
I am saying that I am sure that was not the case. I did not accuse you; far from it. Let us now get the Minister on his feet.
Thank you, Mr Hoyle.
We have heard from all four corners of the United Kingdom. [Interruption.] Everyone who has spoken in the debate agrees on the importance of engaging closely with the devolved Administrations and legislatures as we embark on the forthcoming negotiations.
On a point of order, Mr Hoyle. I have to say that I have great respect for you as the Chairman, but I hope you can understand the frustration that we all feel that only two SNP Members have been called to speak in this debate, which is important for the future of Scotland and our position within Europe. I am asking what you can do, Mr Hoyle, to make sure that the voice of the people of Scotland is heard correctly in this debate. It has not been heard this evening.
I assumed my place in the Chair, and I have tried to ensure that a second SNP voice was heard, and we were listening to that. That is what I agreed to, and that is what I have done. In fairness, I think the SNP has done better than it was going to otherwise, in which case, let us hear what the Minister has to say.
That all was just the lid coming off the teapot
Here is the link to the whole debate in Hansard
I would draw your attention to exchanges in columns 140… Letwin/MacDonald/Harper
145 Deputy Chair
148 Tasmina Ahmed-Sheik
And Finally….at the end of the evening…..the reaction of Anne McLaughlin MP
So that was a long night in the House of Commons. It was 1.15am before I was on my way home after an eventful day.
In 8 hours of debate, 4 MPs representing Scottish constituencies got to speak. At the end of the first debate every Tory and Labour MP who wanted to speak, got to do so. 1 Lib Dem was refused as were 7 SNP MPs.
One of the 4 was Joanna Cherry. After 2 minutes (when many others had spoken for around 20 mins each) the Deputy Speaker saiid he expected her to finish up, that he had been kind enough to let the SNP speak and she should not abuse it.
Joanna rightly carried on. So he told her she was done. Unbelievable. Alex Salmond raised a point of order and about 12 of us walked out in disgust.
Incidentally, when the deputy speaker was telling us to get back in our box, Labour folk were cheering. Angela Eagle’s “hear hear”s were very loud and animated.
It’s not about the SNP being treated badly particularly and it’s certainly not about us individually. But you elected us to represent you and If we are not allowed to speak we are not allowed to represent you.
It’s ridiculous. I am glad I walked out. Joanna was right to stand her ground. We shouldn’t have to fight for the right to fight for you.
Right it’s 2am and I’ve to be back there at 8.30am so I am off to bed. Thanks for all the emails.
Excellent article Rod I was still wanting more to read at the end,a big compliment for me to say.I will have to share this article far and wide as wide as I can.
Well Charles….If you click on the Hansard Link…you will have hours to get through!
Thanks for the compliment and the shares
Reblogged this on charlesobrien08 and commented:
Excellent article I had to share,so please pass onto interested parties.
westminster and the english mps have no respect for scotland or its elected mps i think the snp mps are going to have to stage riots in the chamber to get the attention of the people to the injustice that is happening to scotland and its elected members of parliament
Why are we bothering bring our people home and lets get on with governing our own country this charade has went on long enough I am disgusted with this behaviour.
response to Elaine Hindle .
This is not just about English MP,s disrespecting Scotland in Westminster that has gone on for a long long time it’s not new.This whole episode is part of a wider picture I can assure you, people in England have the same contempt for Scotland as these MP,s do because they think we are small and unable to do things for ourselves.They take advantage of this by making England look bigger than it is using Scotlands resources to do so.Its time Scotland woke up and fought back, we have to take control of our own country .Scotland is a small country in terms of population but we have inundated with English people selling their little expensive homes in England and buying much much bigger homes in Scotland for half the price,of course they are only able to do this because they have hoodwinked us into believing that people in England have to be paid much higher salaries than in scotland for the same job which in turn has led to higher house prices in England.
Scotlands hospitals and universities are full of English people too as are Scottish branches of other U.K. Institutions , 12% or more of people living in Scotland are English.
Those English people who have moved permanently to Scotland might vote for Scottish independence but most will not.They still consider themselves British.
Those English people who have moved to Scotland temporarily for work will definitely not vote for Scottish independence because it’s englands hold and power over Scotland that gives these people the jobs they have.When I say temporarily moved to Scotland we have to realise that twenty or thirty years is still temporary for these people because they will never consider themselves anything other than British and have every intention of moving back to England when they retire and they really do believe it gives power to their elbow being English living in Scotland as part of a UK that England has total control over, I have been absolutely astonished with the arrogant outspoken and disrespectful tones of English people living in Scotland over the last few years when Scottish independence is discussed and quite frankly I feel like telling them to butt out how dare they come here to work and then tell us how useless we are and how much we really need England to run things for us how dare they.
I’m ready for them this time and will not be holding back.
Picking in any ethnic group for our woes is not the answer… Given how many English people are in the SNP itself and in the Greens, and across the spectrum of Scottish society…Many in favour of Scottish Independence. Going back to that old scapegoating is certainly not the answer… What next…shoot all people over 55 years of age who voted against Independence….
When so many wealthy Scots are againsr….get rid of all these in the ABC1 class group…
Many Europeans make a living in Scotland, and many voted against Independence last time….get rid of them too?
We certainly DO Not need some sort of Scottish version of UKIP thanks very much
Tarring us all with the same brush is absolute racism. How dare you presume to second guess what my attitude to Scotland is. I suggest you find out how many of my fellow English Scots supported and worked for independence, as I did in 2014 and am still doing. I don’t know how many doors you knocked on in support of the Yes campaign or street stalls you helped at but I know how many I did. One hell if a lot. And fir the avoidance of doubt, I do hold your attitude in contempt.
I live in the North East and once undertook a small survey as I was working at a National Trust for Scotland property. I simply marked down the accents of the visitors and I was quite shocked to discover (after noting down about 300 people) that 52% of the accents were English estuary. Not Geordie, Liverpudlian, Brummie, Yorkshire etc (who made up about 3%). About 6% were overseas visitors. That left Scottish accents at 39%!! Just have a watch of the regional BBC news for the North East – the majority of reports have someone from the South East of England representing every aspect of Scottish life. This is in no way an anti-English view; I did not hear a variety of English accents but a very elite, moneyed accent who obviously sold up down south and came up here to colonise and control (and buy up a much larger property than they could ever imagine).
Westminster has spoken and the voice of the Scottish people wont be heard inside or outside of Parlament, so why be part of a Union when we have no say. Come on Nicola call this referendum so we can have a voice.
Please Nicola do not waste any more of your very valuable time dealing with these despots at Westminster and this right wing Tory unionist party , When you know you have the ammunition and support of other free nations in Europe please declare UDI , And first act tell these warmongers to remove all there nuclear weapons and there Submarines out of Scotland and hopefully Mr Putin nuclear misselies which are aimed at there bases here in Scotland he will follow the warmongers were ever they place there weapons of mass destruction , That is the greatest gift you can give your people here in there beautiful country free from incineration, God bless you Nicola and guide you on this road to freedom, Joe Sweeney,
This is a very useful article Rod. I am very grateful and look forward to using it in online discussion. The video link is a very helpful part of it but I notice that it is not as helpful as it might have been. If you have time to incorporate the enclosed one from Peter Curran I think that you would further improve the usefulness of your article. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHAyucmey3c Thanks again.
Sorry Rod. I provided the wrong link when I posted earlier. This is the correct one:- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gG5wOWmlbAs
Thanks Tom….I have swapped them now