Column: Brexit shambles at Westminster


As Parliament rises for recess, I usually use my column to summarise my year as your MP and let you know of my plans for constituency engagement throughout recess – including my upcoming summery surgery tour.

However, after the past few weeks at Westminster, I could not avoid outlining the shambolic management of the Brexit process by the UK Government, particularly in the past few weeks.

Just days after launching their Brexit plan, thrashed out at Chequers and signed up to by the Cabinet, the Tories have all but torn it up.

The Government did not reach the monumental breakthrough promised. Instead, both the Brexit Secretary and the Foreign Secretary left their crucial roles in the middle of the negotiations.

Two years on from the EU referendum, we find ourselves in the situation where the Tory Party are still fighting within themselves, rather than negotiating a good deal with the EU.

By contrast, the Scottish Government’s proposals could not be more clear.

In 2016, they set out their position, aimed at protecting the economy and remaining in the single market and customs union.

More recently, they brought forward another detailed proposal outlining their preferred position.

But, in a similar fashion to most concerns raised, both have been ignored.Theresa May’s own economic analysis highlights the risks of leaving the single market and customs union, and the Fraser of Allander Institute revealed research showing that a no-deal scenario threatens up to 80,000 jobs in Scotland.

Despite those warnings, this week the right-wing of her party tried to drag the UK towards a hard Brexit and pull us out of the Single Market and the Customs Union.

The Prime Minister, faced with a divided party and a dysfunctional Parliament, was forced to accept Brexit amendments that put our economy further at risk.

Leaving the single market and customs union has the potential to be disastrous – with hundreds of thousands of jobs being placed at risk and the incomes, ­livelihoods and living standards of millions of people reduced.

But we should be clear, if Scottish Tory and Labour MPs had voted with the SNP this week, we would have avoided this situation.

My constituency, South Lanarkshire and Scotland voted ­ to remain in the EU. By pursuing a hard-brexit people across the country will be made poorer and worse off by a Government determined to drag us out regardless of the impact.

Time is now running out before a deal needs to be struck.

We have a governing party with no coherent plan for leaving the EU, a Prime Minister trying to balance the interests of a sector of her party with the interests of the country and only a few months until we depart.

It is now increasingly likely the UK could end up crashing out of the EU with no deal at all – or agree a bad deal that will leave the Scottish people paying the price for years to come.

No one voted leave to make themselves poorer – and we simply cannot allow this the tories to sacrifice jobs and prosperity to satisfy the hard Brexiteers.