08/02/2017 Politics Scotland


Coverage of some of the day's debates in the Scottish Parliament.

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Hello and welcome to Politics Scotland.


MPs vote later on the Article 50 bill - a day after Holyrood rejected


triggering the process to leave the EU.


And the proposed Jobcentre closures in Scotland go under the spotlight.


And, here at Westminster, after the debate,


MPs will have their final vote on UK Government legislation


MPs will vote again later on the bill that could see


the formal start of the UK's exit from the EU.


They'll consider a number of changes, including protecting


the rights of EU citizens living in Britain.


The bill will then pass to the House of Lords.


It follows a vote at Holyrood yesterday where MSPs voted


overwhelmingly to reject the triggering of Article 50.


Today, Scotland's Brexit minister, Mike Russell, has held talks


with his UK counterpart, David Davis.


Let's talk now to our Westminster Correspondent, David Porter,


and our Political Editor, Brian Taylor.


David, first, just bring us up-to-date on the contortions of


this. The bill being voted through today, are there any concessions by


the government in it? It depends who you talk to. Yesterday, the Brexit


minister, David Jones, got up in the House of Commons and said that MPs


would be given a vote on the deal that had been agreed, when it is


agreed, that the House of Commons and the Lords would get to vote on


it before it goes to the European Parliament for them to say yes or


no. Some people saw that as a concession, and then they thought a


little harder about it and they thought, well, that was what Theresa


May was saying anyway. Because what became evident was that MPs will get


a vote on the final deal that is done, but if they reject that vote,


then the UK will leave the European Union without any deal and will fall


back on what is known as the World Trade Organisation rules, which


basically would be worse probably than any deal that had been struck.


In effect, what Theresa May is doing, rather than conceding, is


metaphorically putting a gun to some MPs' heads and saying, of course you


can have a vote on the deal but, if you reject it, we are still leaving


the EU and they will not be any deal on the table, we will have to be out


in the cold, so to speak, with the heart, cliff edge Brexit. -- hard.


So I don't think you can regard that as a concession. To make it clear,


some MPs wanted a vote that meant that, should they vote against the


final deal, that meant the British government had to go back to


Brussels and say, they don't like that, we'll have to negotiate


something else. That is what is not going to happen? Yes, also the UK


Government says at the moment. They explicitly say, if MPs reject the


deal, that deal will not go ahead, but there will be no deal. She will


not be going back for a second set of negotiations saying, look,


frankly, the guys and girls don't agree with that, can we have another


go? She says that will not be the case. A number of amendments and


changes have been put forward in the House of Commons in the three days


they have been debating this bill in committee, going through the


nitty-gritty. So far, none of the changes or amendments have been


backed. I think Theresa May and her ministers are fairly confident they


will get it through tonight with a large majority and, so far, they do


not think they have to compromise too much on this. Much talk again


today, Brian, about the independence referendum 2, as it's called. The


revelation that the British government might be thinking there


might be won is hardly a revelation, is it? No, they have been thoughts


that the government is preparing for the possibility of a second


independence referendum. Well, of course they are, it is what


governments do, preparing for every potential process that might impact


upon them. So of course the UK Government are preparing. Are they


preparing for the eventuality of independence? No, they are not. Just


as it is fairly evident they didn't prepare for the eventuality of


Britain leaving the EU. But they are preparing for the process. In


Scotland, things have been choreographed. There is choreography


going to match the developments at Westminster. The Scottish cup would


have put forward what they regard as compromise proposals on Scottish


membership of the EU single market by the EEA. You have a succession of


votes at Holyrood, including the one last night, in which, by 3-1, MSPs


said, don't go ahead with the trigger of Article 50. It is a


series of challenges. Brian, I'm interested on your take on this.


There is clearly a debate going on in the SNP or the broader Yes


campaign about what they say if they have another referendum. Some people


would say, what they should say is not Scotland in Europe but an


independent Scotland which would join Efta but not be in the customs


union, so there wouldn't have to be a border with England. Alex Salmond


seems to be saying that isn't it. What is your take? Bearing in mind


what is happening, Britain withdrawing from the European Union


and, according to the Prime Minister, the single market, the


proposal from the Scottish Government is that Scotland stays in


the single market via the EA with the agreement in support of the UK.


That might be, if the Scottish Government get their way, where we


are just prior to a referendum on independence. That is confusing that


with the ultimate objective, which would still be Scottish membership


of the EU. David, we will be back with you later. I was going to say


that I hope it doesn't start raining, but that means that it


will! I'm joined by the Daily Record's


Political Editor, David Clegg. What do you make of all this? As we


were saying, it's hardly surprising. It would be more amazing if the


British government was not aware there might be another referendum.


Nicola Sturgeon said every day that she is on the cusp of another


referendum. If they were not considering that, it would be


surprising. I think we are getting to a level of rhetoric now where we


are almost passed the point of no return. The SNP conference is on


March 17. All of the assembled SNP grassroots supporters will be there


and they will want to hear something significant from Nicola Sturgeon


about independence, and she won't be able to get out of conference


without giving them something. She has already said not this year. The


most obvious thing she could do is, as we know, it requires the


permission of the UK Government for the Scottish Parliament to hold a


referendum through a section 30 order, so I would expect at some


point in the next few weeks Nicola Sturgeon will specifically ask for


that. That does not commit heard anything. The referendum bill would


still have to pass and set it down the road. There has been some


suggestion from Michael Fallon, among others, that the British


government might say, look, you have the right to have a referendum, just


not while we are negotiating Brexit. You had one, you have decided. They


could actually stop the SNP holding one before the final Brexit steel


was done and the British government would presumably say,, the polls


show that people don't want a referendum. Politically, would that


be suicide? That would be difficult. The discussions going on between the


SNP and the UK Government are about how they respond. On the one hand,


among Conservative voters in Scotland, it would probably be


pretty popular to block a referendum, but how does it leave


the general mood of the country? Clearly, at some point, if Nicola


Sturgeon continues to be the most popular politician with the most


popular party, at some point you will have to quit her. I think we


all have great experience of referendums. -- you will have to


give it to her. A mood is important. Comments by David Mundell and


Theresa May, they are floating this one, rather than taking a hard line?


There was an idea that Michael Fallon when he had shot his mouth


off when he said, you're not going to get it. I think there was


probably tactics, sending him out to fly a kite and see what the response


was. What they have decided about that is probably another question.


Yes, seeing it full of bullet holes! The UK Government have an equally


difficult decision about how to deal with it if she pulls the trigger.


Plans to close a number of Jobcentres across Scotland


are being scrutinised by politicians at both Holyrood and Westminster.


Unions say the proposals will see around 10% of centres


Opponents say those searching for work will suffer,


but the UK government argues more people are finding help


Joining me now to discuss the implications of the move


is Martin Bright from the employment charity The Creative Society.


Martin, can you hear me? Hello, Martin Bright? Hello? No, I'm... I'm


afraid he can't hear me. We will come back to that interview, if we


manage to get Martin Bright in sound as well as vision. In the meantime,


what we were talking about there, do you think it would be... As I say, I


can see the British government saying, OK, you can have a


referendum, we don't want to stand, but just not while we are doing the


negotiations. Would that be seem up here, do you think, as common sense


or a great infringement on our right to do this? Like everything else, I


suspect it would split opinion. Clearly, it makes logistical sense,


given the nature of the difficulty and complications that the UK


Government are going to have negotiating a deal, to also be


trying to wage a referendum campaign in Scotland would be an absolute


nightmare, so they would be very keen to avoid it. Whether that gets


them into a position where they say, you can't have this referendum now,


but let us get the deal sorted, let the people in Scotland know what the


Brexit offer looks like and then you can have one, and they could maybe


do that. Generally hostile to independence, but do you think the


British government is playing this correctly? There is a perception


that they are a bit tin eared. They could have come and said, look, this


is a marvellous opportunity, Brexit. We can't wait, we are setting up


committees with the Scottish Government to discuss agriculture,


tax rates, rather than just saying, oh, we will consult with you and


then leaving the Scottish Government too, as far as we can see, not


reasonably say, you haven't done any of the things you said you would.


The record towards independence is still an issue to be as peshmerga


still to be decided maybe. In terms of the UK Government, I think there


is a feeling in a suspicion that I certainly share that the advice and


the way that the UK Government is directing the Scottish question in


the aftermath of Brexit has not been particularly well advised. It has


seemed that, almost every point, Scotland's interests have been


pretty far down the pecking order, and that obviously leads to


resentment, and that can be a problem. You wouldn't need to be the


most brilliant special adviser in the world to tell them how to do it


better, would you? No. In their defence, they have had it not to


deal with, taking over the mess left by the Brexit administration. --


Brexit referendum. The news about the discussions that are happening


is maybe that they are trying to get on top of it but they have a lot of


work to do. I think we can now talk to Martin Bright from The Creative


Society, who is interested in the question of Jobcentres. You can now


hear me, can you? I can. Do you think Jobcentres are past their sell


by date? Do you call them silos of despair or something like that? Yes,


I think Jobcentres were a good 20th century solution to the 20th century


problem. They are pretty good at providing large numbers of jobs in


retail or manufacturing in periods of very high unemployment. The


problem now is that they are essentially benefits offices and the


function of actually creating jobs is no longer really there. These are


places that people do not want to go to, they are unpleasant places and


they are not suited to job creation in the 21st century. It isn't all


that long ago since the Jobcentre bit was separate from the benefits


of this bit, isn't it? Was it not new Labour who merged them? There


has been a whole history of back and forward between these functions


being merged and separated. It has always been a problem when they've


been separate because, if it's just the benefits of this, it's a really


unpleasant place to be, and best some logic in attaching a job


creation element. -- if it's just the benefits office. The moment you


do that, the Jobcentre element becomes poisoned by the benefits


office. We just need to rethink it. If someone is genuinely perhaps not


even claiming benefits, just genuinely getting a job, does it


make it the kind of place you don't want to go into? Yes, particularly


in recent years when benefit sanctions have become so severe,


NIMBY attempt to stop people becoming part of the benefits


culture, -- in the attempt. These are places that people associate


with punishment. Could you give us an example. I know that Europe --


your organisation is involved in and some councils have effectively been


trying to bypass the system and do something else. What are they trying


to do? They have been a number of different approaches from local


authorities and small charities like us to take the functions of job


creation element of the Jobcentres out of the physical buildings


themselves and place them elsewhere. You either go to places where young


people are, youth centres or further education colleges, or indeed, in


our case, we work with the creative sector, so you trying to take these


functions into arts institutions. You make a very important point,


which I want to make you to make the game, which is that your view is


that, in this day and getting a job isn't about going into a government


office and sitting behind a desk. If you are a young person, you need


informal skills. That is what you are trying to encourage? Our point


is that the sort of jobs you want to get in this day and age are not


industrialised jobs. These are jobs where you need to use initiative,


you need soft skills and you will not pick these up in effectively


benefit offices and Jobcentres. Let's cross now to the chamber


at Holyrood for the start of that debate on the proposed Jobcentre


closures in Scotland. The Employability and Training


Minister, Jamie Hepburn, Indeed this is a UK Government who


seems not even to know where Glasgow is, and the House of Commons when


asked about the close euros in Glasgow, one MP said the Minister


for employment, the UK Minister for employment, was in muscle Borough


two weeks ago, that in itself was one example of how far removed the


UK Government is from local communities in Scotland. If these


proposals were not bad enough, on 26th January it was again with no


consultation, there was announced a further raft of closures across the


UK and across Scotland. This lack of forewarning came despite myself


having raised directly the fear to have provided such previously with


Glasgow when I met in January. I wrote to him before that meeting. I


have to say by some miraculous coincidence with this being the day


of the debate he has replied to that letter today. What stands out at


first glance in that letter is that there is not particularly much


additional information, there is no commitment to consulting on all the


closures and particularly disappointing is the failure by


MrHinds to commit to visit the communities and the people who we


impacted on the ground to truly understand the real concerns and I


would continue to urge him to come and visit those communities. These


proposals, these further proposals that were revealed on 26th January,


and a further 16 sites on other parts of Scotland, nine Jobcentres


six, back offices in one centre for health and disability assessment. It


could mean the closure of a further six Jobcentres. We also learned from


the press that a Jobcentre not even listed on the planned closure list


is planned to move to Falkirk. We continue to find out details from


the media rather than directly from the UK Government is a continuing


demonstration of the failure to properly communicate these


decisions. We know staff and services will move from the current


Jobcentre before March 2018, that's a move that involves a distance of


2. 9 miles. Had this been judged to be 0. 1 of a mile more a


consultation on closure would have been required. It is my view that


any proposal for closure should be open to consultation. The UK


Government can't just make decisions based on lines of circles on a map


which it seems very clear is formed how much of the decisions about


sites to be closed has been made. I want to highlight my concerns about


these plans, concerns echoed by the First Minister in this chamber last


week and concerns I have heard directly from people who will be


affected. The fact... Let's speak to some MSPs now.


From the SNP, we have Ben Macpherson,


Maurice Golden is from the Scottish Conservatives,


and, from the Scottish Greens, Alison Johnstone.


Well, my apologies, you won't have heard him, we were talking to


someone from the Creativity Society talking about alternatives for


Jobcentres, making the point that they're entirely 20th century and


that not only is there no need for the ones that are going to be


closed, arguably we need to think of some alternative to Jobcentres as a


whole. Well, as you said I have not been able to hear the conversation


you had earlier but the journey of the move from Jobcentres to


Jobcentre Plus was obviously something that happened over the


Labour Government in Westminster. I think at the moment the way that our


benefits system works and the accessibility issues there are


around making sure that there are physical assets in communities where


people can go and make the claims to social security that they have


rights to, that in the here and now in today in the communities that I


represent and I am sure many others on the panel will agree, that


Jobcentres are absolutely crucial. We do live in an age where there is


more digital access but I think some people don't have that capacity. You


are concerned about people claiming benefits having to travel. You don't


seem to be mentioning somebody looking for a job. Well, of course


Jobcentre Plus and that's the distinction combines both those


services. So the support that there is in a Jobcentre, I am a member of


the social security committee, we visited a Jobcentre recently, I have


done so in my own constituency. Provided in terms of supporting


individuals to apply for jobs, the work coaches who are there which are


new initiatives of universal credit and there is still work to make sure


that's delivered more effectively and more compassionately and


supportively are essential. So I think as we move into the times


ahead, absolutely Jobcentres are crucial, both for helping people to


access the benefits that they have an absolute right to under law and


in terms of the society that we believe in where we People's Quiz


when they're in difficulty and to help them -- where people are in


difficulty and to help them into work and the work schemes that the


Scottish Government are going to change and implement without the


conditionality within that and that will help provide a more supportive


environment. Colin Smith, there you are, yes, we are getting to you. We


have got to you. I can see there might be issues for people on some


types of benefit but all this row about it's unfair people have to


travel three miles, if you are looking for a job and you can't


travel three miles to a Jobcentre you are not going to have much


chance of getting a job. I live in a rural area and there aren't


Jobcentres three miles apart in that particular region, people do have to


travel and will have to travel bigger distances as a result of


these changes. There are 139,000 skts currently out of work this


Scotland. We need to be providing more help to get people into help,


not providing less help. The Tory argument... Aren't you missing the


point. The argument from the Government and others, including the


chap we were talking about the Creative Society, they're not saying


they don't want to help people get jobs, they're saying that Jobcentres


are a completely 20th century way of doing that. If you want to get a job


you can do it on the internet, it's more important particularly with


young people to encourage them to use word of mouth and to develop


their social skills. The whole idea you get a job by walking into a


Government office and sitting behind a desk is outdated. I don't agree


that the support provided through Jobcentres is not useful to people.


Can you explain why the statistics show that only 36% of the people who


go to Jobcentres get a job? 36% is a substantial number of people. The


reality is the argument the Tories are putting forward is that the


reason for these Jobcentre closures is that unemployment has fallen. The


reality is it is 14% higher than it was during the financial crisis. We


need to be providing more support for people to get into work, not


less. What's important people are losing their jobs as a result of


these closures, several hundred people will be out of work in


Scotland because they won't have a job to go to in a Jobcentre. There


is an area... You are not seriously suggesting keeping Jobcentres open


as a job creation programme? One of the proposals in my own


constituency, a town with one of the highest levels of unemployment in


Scotland, yet they're proposing to move a call centre to somewhere else


in Scotland. It's a wrong-headed decision that will take jobs away


from that local community and is unrealistic to expect those people


to travel across Scotland for that employment. Alison Johnson, can we


try you on this, because both the previous people are basically saying


we need to help people get jobs. The people who want to close the


Jobcentres are not saying they don't want to have people find jobs,


they're saying if only a third of people ever go to a Jobcentre


actually get a job, there is clearly a problem so we should start


thinking about doing this in a different way. Well, I would agree


with Colin in that a third of people is a significant number. That's


pathetic for a Government agency that's supposed to be getting people


jobs. They can always do better, I agree wholeheartedly. Would we


consider removing a GP surgery from a heart of a community? This is one


of the most important services that we as a society can offer. The lack


of consultation is quite, frankly, frightening. You simply can't go


about closing Jobcentres willy-nilly. On the social security


committee we have been taking evidence from a lot of people who


have significant difficulties engaging with technology. We have


been hearing from citizens advice and others about how much time


they're spending getting people an e-mail account, showing them how to


use the internet. So one size will never fit all. I wouldn't suggest


for a second that we have too many Jobcentres, I think we should be


investing in this if we are serious about having a working participant


of society. Even from the way you have described the problem, the this


you are suggesting investing in doesn't sound to me very much like a


Jobcentre. No one is saying we shouldn't invest money in helping


people who can't use e-mail because they're not going to get a job


unless they can do that, but you don't need Jobcentres for that. I


think we do. We have staff there who are trained and expert at helping


find out what would best suit the client and ensuring that the client


has a pathway into that work. Do you know the statistics? The statistics


may be worse if we remove Jobcentres from our communities. Inclusion


Scotland are really concerned about the impact on disabled, those using


the service who have disabilities. Three miles might be nothing if you


are able-bodied and in good health but it can be a significant barrier


to those who don't enjoy good health. Maurice Golden, that's a


point, if you are disabled it is easy, you might say people who are


able-bodied and looking for work as I said earlier, if they can't go


three miles to a Jobcentre what's the point of trying to get them a


job, but if you are disabled that might be a serious issue. Well, yes,


and that's why we need further consultation on any of the proposed


closures but I think one thing that you may not have picked up from some


of my colleagues is that down in Westminster, both the Labour and SNP


have supported a modernisation of the Jobcentres. There is a


recognition that, for example, the claimant count in Glasgow has gone


down by 44% since 2010. More and more people are accessing Jobcentres


online. So that's something that we should all be working towards. Do


you think there is a case, again, as I apologise to Colin, I know you


didn't hear Martin Bright, the chap from the Creative Society, but one


of the points he makes is that while the New Labour's merger of the


Benefits Agency with the jobs agency might have been well intentioned,


actually the way it's turned out is it makes these places really dismal


and there might be an argument for separating the two out again? Well,


I know when I have been unemployed in the past I have used Jobcentres,


I find them helpful in helping people to find work. They did it for


me and I know they're doing it for others. They made you an MSP? They


didn't get me this job. Tell us which Jobcentre that is then! Well,


I am sure I can point you to it once we finish this conversation, if you


are looking for a change in career! All right, we will have to leave it


there. Thank you all very much indeed. A quick shot of all you


standing looking marvellous, thank you.


And now to this week's Prime Minister's Questions,


where the subject of health and, especially,


Jeremy Corbyn accused the UK Government of arranging


a "sweetheart deal" with a Tory-led council to stop a controversial


The Labour leader asked Theresa May to "come clean" on how much


money had been offered to Surrey County Council.


I wonder if it's to do with the fact they both represent Surrey


constituencies. MrSpeaker, there was a second text from Surrey County


Council leader to Nick and in the second text it says the numbers you


indicated are the numbers that I understand are acceptable for me to


accept and call off the R. Now I have been reading a bit of John Le


Carre and apparently R means referendum. It's very subtle all


this. And he goes on to say in his text to Nick, if it is possible for


that info to be sent to myself I can then revert back soonest, really


want to kill this off. So, how much did the Government offer Surrey to


kill this off? And is the same sweetheart deal on offer to every


council facing the social care crisis created by her Government? I


have made clear to the right honourable gentleman what has been


made available to every council, which is the ability to raise the


preset. Yet again what we get from Labour are alternative facts. What


they really need is an alternative leader. When the Prime Minister was


in Edinburgh on 15th July last year she pledged that she would and I


quote, not trigger Article 50 until she had an agreed UK-wide approach.


So given that the Scottish parliament has voted overwhelmingly


against her approach and all bar one MP representing a Scottish


constituency in this House of Commons has voted against her


approach, she does not have an agreed UK-wide approach.


As the Prime Minister knows, a lot of people in Scotland watch Prime


Minister's Questions, so will she killed those viewers in Scotland


whether she intends to keep her word to people in Scotland or not? --


will she tell. We are ensuring that we work closely with the Scottish


Government and the other devolved administrations as we take this


forward. I would remind the honourable gentleman that the


Supreme Court was very clear that the Scottish parliament does not


have a veto on the triggering of Article 50. The bill that is going


through the house obviously is giving the power to the government


to trigger Article 50. I would also remind him of this point, because he


constantly refers to the interests of Scotland inside the EU. An


independent Scotland would not be in the European Union. Does the Prime


Minister agree that, in a 21st century parliament, the rules should


not enable any member to speak the 58 minutes in a three-hour debate?


Does she agree that the rules should be changed to prevent filibustering


and ensure that members from all sides have their share of the time


available? I have to say I find that a curious question from the


honourable gentleman. Last night, I was out of the house between the two


votes. I switched on the BBC Parliamentary channel and I saw the


honourable gentleman speaking. I turned over to something else. I


switched back. I switched back to the Parliamentary channel. I saw the


honourable gentleman still speaking. I switched over to something else. I


switched back and the honourable gentleman was still speaking. He is


the last person to complain about in this house.


Well, for reaction to that, here's our Westminster correspondent


Hopefully still dry and with some MPs put yes, it still dry and I've


got MPs, but it is very cold. I've got Alistair Carmichael for the


Liberal Democrats, Ian Murray for Labour, Kirsten Oswald for the SNP


and Iain Stewart for the Conservatives. You have all said you


are desperate to talk about Brexit, and it is my wish to help you in


this, because you've been talking about it for five days in the House


of Commons. Five days in, the government has not been defeated.


You are probably quite glad about that. Is it all been worth it and


has anything changed since we started discussing Brexit? The court


decision in a few weeks ago were quite parliament to have a debate


so, if you are having a debate, you have full consideration of all the


issues and we have certainly at that. I am pleased we are keeping


the bill is simple. It's the start of the process, not the negotiation


itself. It's the authorisation for the government to start it. I hope


this goes through so we can get on with the negotiations about the deal


that works for the country. The court said it had to happen and


therefore it had to happen. Your party seems less than impressed with


the way it's gone. Is less than impressive. We have a one line bill,


a white Paper that arrived in the middle of the process which, from


looking at it, seems to mostly consist of blank space itself. There


are some difficulties in persuading me that we've had a full and


thorough discussion of it. In the midst of that, we've had a Scottish


parliament who have clearly had strong views, in my view is those of


the Scottish people, but we have had difficulty making that heard here


and are being persuaded that the government is taking that on board.


I think much more should be done to persuade people that the government


are really taking it on board. Very few issues link you and the SNP, but


this is one that does tonight presumably you will again vote


against triggering Article 50? I will, because the bill has not been


changed or altered. I don't know why the government had to be dragged by


the Supreme Court to bring this process because they are just


running it through. They could have done that last July and we would


have been much further ahead. They fought the process and now they are


fighting to be able to amend it. I have never seen as many amendments


to a bill as I have seen in this process, but they are all concerned


with the big issues about EU nationals, the effect on the


economy, parliament having a say, etc. We will not reverse the


arguments again. But none of that has been accepted. The key thing


here, and it would be interesting to get the government response, every


bill that goes through the House of Commons chamber has a report stage,


and that is a separate stage to report back to the house a bill that


has been amended. There is no report stage, so the government that had no


intention of accepting any amendments so the process is a sham


and it highlights the fact that Brexit doesn't mean Brexit if it


means a Tory Brexit. If it goes through unamended, that is a result


of the Parliamentary arithmetic, isn't it? It probably will go


through this evening but that doesn't change the politics of it.


We have got two years of this still to go and the future of EU nationals


living in the UK, for example, our nationals living in other parts of


the EU, these are problems that still have to be faced and dealt


with. Yes, it's an issue of Parliamentary arithmetic, but for


me, the issue is that the reason this bill is almost certain to go


through unamended is that the Labour Party has thrown in the towel on


just about every significant vote we have had. You know that it only


works, parliament only works when the official opposition does the job


it is there to do and offers meaningful opposition. When Jeremy


Corbyn marches into the division lobby shoulder to shoulder with


Theresa May... It is disingenuous to say that we have stopped this


bill... Tory rebels, adding them... Simon Petra -- you would have had a


chance of getting Tory rebels. Eight Tory rebels yesterday, that was it.


You have thrown in the towel at every turn. You are better than


that. We know that you like talking about Brexit at every turn. But


another idea is that of a second Scottish independence ever read on.


As we progress towards Brexit, are we moving towards one? I don't think


so. There is clear evidence that Scotland and the people of Scotland


don't want one. Frankly, I think the Scottish Government should engage


constructively in the Brexit process. Looking at the additional


powers that potentially could be devolved to Scotland, and working


with the government on this, rather than creating uncertainty for


everyone by keeping this threat of another referendum alive. Tell us


when the second referendum is going to be. I think it is these gentlemen


to look to to discover where we are with this. Some of the things that


Ian said were extraordinary. The Scottish Cabinet has been engaging


constructively with the UK Government throughout the process.


The missing link... So take the independence referendum of the


table. The missing link is that the UK Government seems unwilling to


engage in compromise. If I can finish, it is unacceptable to the


people that are watching all this, with some astonishment, I would


think, to see the way that the Scottish representatives are being


dealt with and to see that their government in Scotland is not being


listened to. In terms of the GMC, I think it's pretty clear that the


Scottish reference -- Scottish representatives are not being


listened to either. Are we moving towards Indyref 2? I don't think so,


because I don't think Nicola Sturgeon wants a second referendum,


and I think we should quickly get this off the table so it doesn't


confuse Brexit so we can work towards a Brexit that works for the


whole UK, including Scotland. The bill is going through tonight and we


are leaving the EU. We have to do all that we can to get the best


deal. And the best deal for Scotland. Alistair Carmichael, you


are a former Scottish secretary. We hear reports today that the Scottish


office of the UK Government is planning for a second independence


referendum. Does that ring true for you? I'm not going to second-guess


that. The difficulty for Chryston and the SNP is that they are using


this, the Brexit issue, as a lever to get Scotland out of the UK. Now,


really, what they should be doing if they are sincere in their commitment


to the EU, they should be working with other people in other parts of


the UK who share their views and focusing on that, rather than seeing


everything through the prism of Scottish independence. Much though


it pains me to agree with Ian on this occasion, it's right, you do


really need to take the Indyref off the table on this occasion. We'll


have to leave it there. They have to go back in the House of Commons.


They have some voting at 5pm. There are something like ten separate


votes, so they are going to go back and prepare for that, but at least


they will be in the warm. Big issues, Brexit, Indyref 2. Let's


narrow it down to Labour. Is there any sense of them getting it


together? What Ian Murray was arguing there flatly contradicts


what his party leader is arguing. I don't think there is, frankly. The


debate we are having that will there be another independence referendum,


what discussions are the government having, the Labour Party are nowhere


near that. The last independence referendum on the known site was


almost entirely a label one. Anything that... The Labour Party at


the moment doesn't seem to know what day it is. Or what, I mean, they


would say they had a line on independence, they are against a


referendum, but we have had varying suggestions they might not be


institutionally in favour of independence but some might campaign


for it and then they can't do that... They have learnt... What is


hoped this is the fact that, as I say, you have just had Ian Murray,


the only Labour MP in Scotland, and what he is saying is, he is


justifying voting against the way that his party leader is ordered


them to vote in a three line whip. While defending the approach his


party is taking, which is astonishing. Yesterday, at the


Scottish Parliament, we had a trio of rebels that are considered to be


Jeremy Corbyn supporters but then voted against the way Kezia Dugdale


was instructing her MSPs. They are completely at sea. The problem for


them is that all parties tend to have a field Mavericks. Jeremy


Corbyn was a maverick in the Labour Party. But this is right down the


middle. -- a feud mavericks. In the next essential problem with the SNP,


their sole purpose is to agitate for independence. The Labour has all


been -- always been about something else but in a political environment


across the UK entirely defined by constitutional attrition. It is


almost like the pop charts are sewn up and Labour are saying, actually,


we are into jazz. And nobody is listening to jazz right now. I have


a pet theory, which is that the party which stands to benefit most


from the second referendum is Labour, because it might end up for


them. Do you mean if it is a yes vote? Or a no vote.


FMQs is on BBC Two Scotland at midday tomorrow.


See how he turned his life around from being the Scottish bad boy...