I led a debate in Westminster Hall on about the priorities for Scotland with regards to the Brexit negotiations, concentrating on ensuring the devolved administrations are fully involved and, crucially as I think this has been missed out of the debate, finding out why people voted Leave and responding to their concerns.
You can view my associated Early Day Motion here:•http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2016-17/325
I also wanted to ensure the voice of those who voted No in the Scottish Independence referendum were also heard. The priority for both the UK and Scottish Governments MUST be to ensure Scotland remains in the UK with the advantages that come form the EU. That should be the destination and not another independence referendum that will merely layer more uncertainty on top of the current uncertainty.
In no particular order:
Priority 1: Membership of EEA
To press the UK “as hard as possible” to take the “Norway option” (membership of the EEA), as this is “overwhelmingly in Scotland’s interest”. It is imperative that Scotland is able to continue to trade freely with EU nations and the rest of the UK.
Priority 2: Fiscal Union with rUK
To safeguard Scotland’s public services, pension and benefit payments, by securing a continuing fiscal union with the UK. The Scottish Government – with Labour’s full support – fought hard to maintain the Barnett Formula during the fiscal framework negotiations and we should not do anything to jeopardise it.
Priority 3: Currency Union with rUK
To continue to use the pound in a currency union with the rest of the UK, which will be possible if Scotland also remains in a UK fiscal union. All the evidence suggests that maintaining fiscal and currency union with the rest of the UK is by far the best option available to Scotland. No other option is better than what we currently have.
Priority 4: Explore all options
Scottish Government must do everything it can to clarify all the options for Scotland’s relationship with the EU in the future. This means laying out what the Scottish Government will do with the additional powers that will now come from not being in the EU. The Scottish Parliament will have control over fisheries, agriculture, the environment and many regulations. Remember the SNP voting against the living wage in public sector contracts 5 times as they wrongly said it was against EU rules. No longer.
Priority 5: Protecting EU nationals in Scotland and the rest of the UK
It is vital that we send out a clear message that we will protect the rights of EU nationals who live, work and study in the UK. Their contribution to the social, economic and cultural landscape of our country is immense and highly valued. Equally, we must also must protect the right of UK nationals to work, study and live in other EU countries.