At 11pm last Friday, Scotland was dragged out of the European Union (EU), against the express will of her people and parliament.

The Prime Minister’s deal is now law and the European Parliament sang Auld Lang Syne as they bade us farewell. Our part in an EU that has bound the nations of Europe together in peace and prosperity for decades is, for now at least, over.

The majority opinion in Scotland and indeed here in North Ayrshire and Arran, is to stay in the EU. We value the benefits membership brought and at every electoral opportunity since the EU referendum, including the last general election, the people of Scotland backed parties and candidates who supported remaining.

Given Scotland’s support for staying in the EU, while respecting the outcome of the 2016 referendum, the SNP Government sought a compromise to ensure that if we left, it would cause as little economic damage as possible for our nation and people. Proposals to allow Scotland to remain in the Single Market and Customs Union were dismissed out of hand by the UK Tory Government.

The deal that has gone through offers those concessions to Northern Ireland, unquestionably putting Scotland at a competitive economic disadvantage. Every UK nation gets what it voted for or will stay in the single market and customs union, except Scotland, which was ignored.

In 2014, during the independence referendum campaign, Scotland was told that the UK was a union of equals and we should lead, not leave it. No rational assessment supports this fiction. How can the UK be a union of equals when the democratically devolved legislatures in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all refused to consent to the withdrawal agreement, which will cut jobs, reduce prosperity and damage our relationships with our European partners?

Last week I led a debate on the Claim of Right for Scotland, the principle which recognises that Scotland’s people have the sovereign right to decide how we are governed. This Right is now under attack, as the UK Government disrespects devolution and Scotland’s democratic will.

The Tories are ignoring the general election result from last December. They unequivocally urged voters in Scotland to vote for them to stop another independence referendum. We in the SNP stood firmly on a platform of saying no to Brexit and yes to Scotland’s right to choose our own future. The SNP won 48 of the 59 Scottish constituencies, the Tories just six.

It is not democratically sustainable or ethical for the Tories deny the people of Scotland the right to determine our own future.  Therefore, a Constitutional Convention to engage with all sections of Scottish society will be convened to take our country forward.

Scotland has reached a pivotal moment. There has been a material change in circumstances since 2014, when Scots were told the only way to stay in Europe was to vote No.

We have a right which we claim in no uncertain terms, to choose our own future and we will not be denied.


Patricia Gibson

MP for North Ayrshire