Speech on the Withdrawal Agreement
With the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement and Future Declaration finally published at the end of November, Parliament devoted 5 days at the beginning of December to discuss and debate the content. Right from the outset, it was clear the Prime Minster had managed to alienate both Leavers and Remainers with even some of those who were supposedly to be big beneficiaries of Brexit, such as the Scottish Fisherman, beginning to realise the disadvantages of being outside the Customs Union. As I highlighted in my speech, much of the fishing catch will face tariffs when accessing the EU market and potentially also delays, which is hardly ideal when it comes to trading fresh produce. Their commercial performance will be further undermined by the fact that fishing boats registered in Northern Ireland will retain access to the Customs Union under the special arrangements provided by the deal for Northern Ireland. Whilst I fully support these arrangements to ensure no hard border between the North and South of Ireland and peace is maintained, it puts Scotland at a huge competitive disadvantage in terms of trade and investment, and illustrates perfectly the kind of arrangement the Scottish Government has been calling for Scotland to have.
I also emphasised the detrimental effect Brexit would have on the NHS and the key industries of importance in Central Ayrshire, including aerospace and pharmaceuticals. The loss of EU nationals who contribute so much to our economy, public services, universities and our communities will be significant, and the effects are being felt already. But, it’s not just staff; the loss of the Single Aviation Market, European Aviation Safety Agency, and the European Medicines Agency will hugely affect these industries, not to mention the effect of losing the just in time supply chains which are so vital to their production lines.
You can watch my full speech here