Due to the huge number of enquiries I have received about Brexit, I thought it would be helpful if I produced a clear outline of my position.
I understand that this is quite a long email, but I would encourage you to read it in full as I believe it addresses most of the commonly made points in the debate over Brexit. If you have a specific Brexit concern which is not addressed in this email, please do not hesitate to get back in touch.
“We should leave with No Deal”
While leaving the EU with “No Deal” or “WTO terms” is still a possibility, I do not believe that this is the best outcome. While the UK would be able to cope with a “No Deal” Brexit, it would undoubtedly cause disruption and uncertainty which would be best avoided. I believe that the best possible deal is the deal that the Prime Minister has negotiated with the EU.
“We should revoke Article 50”
While I myself voted Remain in the 2016 referendum, I was elected to represent West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine in 2017 on a manifesto which promised to deliver on the referendum result. To support revoking Article 50 would be breaking that promise, which I am not willing to do.
“Scotland did not vote to Leave”
The 2016 referendum was a UK-wide referendum, where it was agreed that the result would be decided by the total overall vote. We decided in 2016 that we would take this decision together, as one United Kingdom. Many areas of England also voted against leaving the EU, many of them with a higher % of Remain votes than the Scottish result. Those areas are leaving the EU too, no city, county or nation of the UK will be left behind.
“Aberdeenshire did not vote to Leave”
While a majority of Aberdeenshire voters voted to remain in the European Union in 2016, and I myself voted Remain in the referendum, I was elected to represent you in 2017 on a manifesto which promised to deliver on the referendum result. I promised to do so in a way which got a good deal for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, which remains my intention.
“People have changed their minds”
Brexit has proven to be an extremely divisive issue, but there is no evidence to suggest that many people on either side of the debate have changed their minds. At the 2017 General Election, 85.1% of the public voted for parties which promised in their manifestos to deliver on the result of the 2016 referendum, including 55.7% of Scottish voters.
“The Leave campaign lied”
While there were elements of the Leave campaign which were undeniably misleading, both the Leave and Remain campaigns were guilty of misleading the public and violating spending limits.
For example, a pro-Remain leaflet was delivered to every home in the UK at a cost of over £9 million, which was more than the £7 million the Leave campaign could spend for the entire campaign. This leaflet was funded by taxpayers and was not included in Remain’s total spend.
Dramatic predictions were made about the economic result of a Leave vote, with the then-Chancellor threatening an Emergency Budget and an immediate recession in the event of a Leave vote. Neither of these things happened.
“We need a second referendum on Europe”
The House of Commons voted on the 14th March against having a second referendum, by a margin of 334 to 85. A second referendum has also been ruled out by the UK Government. Going back to the people and asking them to keep voting until we get the answer we want is not fair, democratic or reasonable.
A second referendum on Europe would pave the way for a second referendum on Scottish independence, which is the only reason why the SNP support it. The SNP didn’t care about Scotland’s place in Europe when they were told in 2014 that independence would lead to Scotland leaving the EU. They don’t care about Scotland’s place in the EU today. All they care about is independence, at any cost, and they will tell whichever lie they think best enhances their chances of getting another divisive, expensive and dangerous independence referendum.
“We need a “People’s Vote” on the deal, with Remain as an option”
A People’s Vote with Remain as an option is a not-very-cleverly disguised attempt to get a second referendum, but with an unfair built-advantage for the Remain campaign. In a three-way referendum, the pro-Brexit vote would be split between supporters of the Prime Minister’s deal and those who want a “No Deal” Brexit, allowing the Remain option to win even if it had less support than it had in 2016.
For exactly this reason, a three-way referendum of this sort would be rejected by both the House of Commons and the independent Electoral Commission, who must approve the wording of all referendum questions to ensure they are fair.
“We’d be better off as an independent Scotland inside the EU”
No, we wouldn’t. Scotland leaving the UK would make the UK leaving the EU look like a walk in the park.
Scotland has been integrated into the United Kingdom for 312 years, compared to the 46 years since the UK joined the European Economic Community. Our institutions and economy are far more deeply intertwined with those in the rest of the UK than with Europe. To use just one example- 61% of Scottish exports go to the rest of the UK, as opposed to just 17% to Europe. More than half a million Scottish jobs depend on the vital UK internal market.
Leaving the UK would take years, if not decades, and would risk huge damage to our economy. If this happened in the next few years, the process would be handled by the bungling and incompetent SNP government in Holyrood, with its track record of failure.
Even then, there would be no guarantee that an independent Scotland could join the EU. In 2014, the Spanish government made it extremely clear that it would veto any attempt by an independent Scotland to join the EU, as it fears that Scotland joining the EU would encourage independence movements in Spain. Brexit has not changed this.
Even if this was not the case, and Scotland could leave quickly and easily, Scotland would have to leave the UK with its fair share of the UK national debt, no independent currency of its own and the biggest budget deficit in Europe thanks to years of mismanagement by the SNP.
These challenges would not make an independent Scotland an attractive candidate for EU membership, especially when the challenges the Eurozone already faces are taken into account.