My article for the Edinburgh Evening News on the Government’s draft Brexit withdrawal agreement. You can also read the article on the Evening News website here.
Would you vote for a political party that’s only general election policy was to make you significantly poorer? Well, that is what has happened. The Government has decided that they will pursue a Brexit at all and any cost.
They have spent the last 30 months debating with themselves to cobble together a draft divorce agreement that they still can’t guarantee will get through their own Cabinet, never mind Parliament.
And this isn’t even about our future relationship with the EU post-Brexit. This is merely the divorce agreement. That is, the terms in which we would leave the EU. It doesn’t cover what happen after we leave and that is why there is a “backstop” to the issues with the border on the island of Ireland.
We could accurately describe this as a fudge and the worst of all worlds.
My view is clear. I will not support any deal that makes my constituents, Edinburgh, or the country poorer and I demand a People’s Vote on this “deal”. Nobody voted for a Brexit that will see Britain giving away control and leaving people poorer. It means paying a near £50 billion divorce bill but getting nothing in return.
Whether it’s a no deal or this fudged “deal”, the result would be the same: a miserable Brexit for the UK threatening business confidence, our public services and the future for our young people.
It’s only going to get worse with the biggest issues unresolved while we follow rules over which we will no longer have any say – and suffer long-term damage to our economy. This is a fudge beyond all fudges.
MPs must ask themselves if this is better than the deal we’ve already got inside the EU.
If MPs cannot look their constituents in the eye and say it is, they must vote this deal down and then hand the final decision back to the public. A choice between a fudged “deal” and no deal is no choice at all. The public deserve a real choice between leaving the EU on these terms or sticking with the deal we’ve got inside the EU.
This Brexit deal also raises the risk of a split in the United Kingdom. The SNP are already piping up about independence just hours after the announcement. Even the DUP, not a group I find myself ever agreeing with immediately, pointed out the reason for that cry.
The Conservative Party, who have the word “Union” in their official title are risking not just our economy, culture and the future for our children and grandchildren but the very foundation of our union both here in Scotland and in Ireland. That would compound the catastrophe of Brexit to unimaginable levels.
I’m not buying this fudge or risk to the UK and it looks as though Parliament will not buy it either. That is why I strongly believe that it is only the people that can sort this out. That’s why we need a People’s Vote and why I have backed a People’s Vote from the start.
It’s everyone’s job to protect children from… Turkeys do not vote for Christmas but what the Prime Minister is going to try and force through is for the turkeys to vote for Christmas to be every day. Maybe the turkeys will survive but the Prime Minister will certainly not.