When I was standing to become MP for Ochil and South Perthshire, I stood on a manifesto that pledged to implement the result of the 2016 EU Referendum in a way that ensures we leave the EU but safeguards the economic interests of my constituents. Therefore, my position remains the same, to leave the EU with a deal.
The Prime Minister has done what many said was impossible and negotiated a new deal with the EU. I believe that this is a good deal for the UK and a good deal for Scotland. This deal ensures that the entire UK leaves the EU, the single market and the customs union. It ensures that Britain is out of EU laws and out of the European Court of Justice. It secures an independent trade policy, control of farming and fishing, and crucially no hard border on the island of Ireland. This deal is supported by key voices in Scotland, including, the National Farmers Union of Scotland, the Scottish Fisherman’s Federation, the Federation of Small Businesses, the Scottish Chambers of Commerce and the Scotch Whisky Association.
I believe that it is vital that we leave the EU as one United Kingdom. The rest of the UK is by far Scotland’s biggest trading partner, accounting for 61 per cent of Scottish exports – over three times more than the EU. A separate deal for Scotland would break up the internal market of the UK, making it harder for Scottish businesses to trade with the rest of the UK. This would be deeply damaging for the Scottish economy.
I wanted to remain in the European Union, but just as I respected the referendum result in 2014 when it went my way, I have to respect the result of the 2016 referendum. We need to sort Brexit and move on to focus on the issues that really matter to Scotland and the United Kingdom.