Theresa May making independence ‘inevitable’, says Angus Robertson
Theresa May will make the break-up of the UK “inevitable” if she refuses to grant a second referendum on Scottish independence, Angus Robertson has said.
The SNP deputy leader attacked the Prime Minister for “blithely ignoring” the Scottish Government throughout the months building up to today’s triggering of Article 50, and was met with cheers from his party when he warned that Scotland leaving the UK had become increasingly likely.
“The Prime Minister says she thinks Brexit will bring unity to the UK. It will not. On this issue, it is not a united kingdom and the Prime Minister needs to respect the differences,” he said in the Commons.
“If she does not, if she remains intransigent and if she denies Scotland a choice on our future, she will make Scottish independence inevitable.”
The clash came a day after Holyrood voted by 69 to 59 in favour of a second ballot on taking Scotland out of Britain.
While Nicola Sturgeon wants a fresh poll to be held before Britain leaves the EU, Scottish ministers are unlikely to get the nod from Mrs May, who has repeatedly said that “now is not the time” for a vote.
But Mr Robertson accused the Prime Minister of having “broken her word” on consulting the devolved nations before kick-starting the process of leaving the bloc, and insisted that Mrs May does not hold the mandate to pull Scotland out of the EU.
“The Prime Minister promised an agreement. There is no agreement. She has broken her word,” he added.
“What has this Government done? It has carried on blithely ignoring the views of Scotland...
“The benches opposite do not seem to understand that the UK is a multi-national state with four nations and all of the rhetoric from the Government benches does not paper over the gaping chasm.”
A 'LONG, LONG WAY' FROM NATIONAL UNITY
The Prime Minister provoked a fierce response from the nationalist benches when she responded that her constituency had also voted Remain but that “we are leaving as a whole United Kingdom”.
Labour’s Yvette Cooper said the Scottish issue meant Theresa May risked unintentionally mimicking David Cameron, whom she dubbed the Prime Minister “who unintentionally led Britain out of Europe”.
“This Prime Minister, I know, does not want to see the break-up of the United Kingdom but she will also know that holding us together requires more than just the rhetoric of unity,” she said.
“Can she say what she will do both in the content and style of her negotiations not to fuel further division, not to play into the hands of others but to ensure that voices from all over the country are heard in this debate so she does not become the Prime Minister who unintentionally leads the break-up of Britain?”
Former Labour leader Ed Miliband said Mrs May was a “long, long way” from achieving the unity which she put at the top of her priorities as Prime Minister.
“National unity must be earned and not just asserted and must be shown in deeds and not just in words,” he said.