25/01/2017 Politics Scotland


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At Holyrood, the Brexit minister Mike Russell will be giving


a statement on the Supreme Court ruling on Article 50.


And Scotland's exports to both the UK and EU continue to rise,


with renewables pushing up the figures.


And here at Westminster attention is now turning to the legislation


Theresa May has told the Commons that the UK Government will publish


The Prime Minister had been under pressure from Labour MPs


and a number of Conservatives to take the step, after


the Supreme Court ruled that MPs need to give approval


The announcement on a white paper came after a question


from the Conservative MP Chris Philp.


The Prime Minister laid out a clear and bold plan for Brexit in her


speech last week. Honourable members, honourable members, quite


rightly, want an opportunity to scrutinise that plan. Does the Prime


Minister agree that the best way of facilitating better scrutiny would


be a government White Paper, laying out our vision for a global Britain,


based on free trade in goods and services that will be to the benefit


of us and other European countries? My honourable friend raises the


question of Parliamentary scrutiny. I have been clear, as have senior


ministers, that we will ensure that Parliament has every opportunity to


provide scrutiny on this issue as we go through this process. But I


recognise I set out that bold plan for a global Britain last week and I


recognise there is an appetite in this house to see that plan set out


in a White Paper. The question from my honourable friend, the member for


Brookstone, last week in the same vein, and I can confirm that our


plan will be set out in a White Paper.


Let's talk to our Westminster correspondent, David Porter.


Was this a surprise? I think it was one of those surprises that people


had a fair idea might come. I say that because yes, to some extent it


was a bit of a climb-down by the UK Government, probably in an ideal


world they would have said, no, we don't want a White Paper, but all


treaties and negotiations with Europe before have been subject to a


White Paper, so I think it was something that Theresa May thought


she would have give ground on, and that's exactly what she did. When


you listen to that question, it did seem like it was a planted question


that had taken root on those green benches. What it did do, to some


extent, as we will probably see later PMQs, it did to some extent


wrong-foot the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who had some questions


prepared on the need for a White Paper, and to Weezer May was able to


say that she had announced there would be gone. -- Theresa May was


able to say she knows that would be one. Important to say that this is a


White Paper on UK Government's overall stance on Brexit and the


negotiations that will go on, not the legislation to trigger Article


50. That legislation will be introduced into the Commons


tomorrow. Being a White Paper, it is the government's intention for their


Brexit negotiations, but it will not give the detail many MPs would have


wanted. You make an important point, that this isn't the same as the bill


to trigger Article 50. That will be a very short possibly one liner, we


know, two or three lines. But, if the White Paper is not supposed to


give away Theresa May's negotiating stance, yet it is a White Paper,


what is it supposed to do? What it can do is sort of say to the


government's own backbench MPs and opposition MPs, these are the areas,


this is the general stance we will be taking, this is what we are


hoping to achieve. But I think anybody who would expect a document


basically giving away state secrets is going to be very much


disappointed. What she can say is, I have listened to what MPs have been


saying, a number of MPs this morning were calling for a White Paper on


the negotiations. They have not got that. So she can go to the house and


say, look, I've listened to what you have said, I have acted on and you


will get a White Paper, but quite powerful that White Paper will be,


we will only find out when it is published. We will be back with you


later and you have to give us some time to digest the news that there


may be planted questions in the house!


Scotland's trade with the rest of the UK continues to be worth four


times more than its exports to the EU, according


Renewable electricity through cables going south of the border has helped


drive the value of Scottish sales to the rest of the UK close


International exports were also up around 4% during 2015.


But there is a political battle over which markets are most


Our business and economy editor, Douglas Fraser, reports.


This is a wind factory in central Glasgow making small-scale wind


turbines. They have just made their 1000th wind turbine in six years.


They now mainly export what they produce. In fact, wind power is one


of the reasons why there has been an increase in sales of goods and


services from Scotland into the rest of the UK. That total value is ?50


billion, for these 2015 figures. Exports to the whole of the rest of


the world came to around ?29 billion that year, and to the EU, within the


European Union, ?12 billion of sales. From the point of view of the


UK Government, that suggests that the UK market is four times more


important as the EU market but, from the Scottish Government point of


view, arguing that Scotland ought to stay within the European single


market, they are saying that the potential of the whole EU market is


eight times bigger than the British one.


Now, later this week, Theresa May will be talking trade


with the new US President Donald Trump.


But, while those talks go on, the post of the Scottish Government's


official representative to the United States lies empty


after the last incumbent stood down suddenly in November.


John McManus looks at the diplomatic and economic challenges ahead.


Typically high-powered entrants for one of Scotland's 's most famous and


controversial investors. When he dropped in on his Turnberry golf


course, Donald Trump was still a presidential contender. Now he is


the most powerful man on earth. No longer the butt of jokes. I'm not


sure he will be wanting to phone me. In the highly unlikely event that he


becomes president. What would your message be? I am on the other line,


sorry for the now leaders will definitely take his calls. The First


Minister congratulated Mr Trump on his win and issued a warning. That


doesn't mean I don't respect the fact that America had elected him as


their president is therefore I hope we can have a constructive


relationship and I hope that Donald Trump the president turned out to be


a very different person to Donald Trump the candidate. Strong


relations between Scotland and the US are vital, not least for trade.


The government's business agency, Scottish developers International,


says the US is Scotland's's biggest source of foreign inward investment.


Over six years, it secured more than 13,000 jobs from US companies with a


combined investment of ?1 billion, and there could be further


opportunities, but only if the right support is there. The US is


Scotland's's biggest export market. We have great Scottish companies


selling into that market, for example in the drinks sector, brew


dog, a young brewing company. They are expanding into the US market was


well established links such as salmon and whiskey. It's a big


market. We have high-tech companies that we are looking to expand their,


such as people selling software and the US hospital market. The Scottish


Government as an office in the British Embassy in Washington,


dedicated to selling brand Scotland, but there has been nobody in the


driving seat since November when the last head moved on. And in 2010 the


government published its plan for engagement with the United States,


detailing the steps it would take to promote across the Atlantic. It


promised annual updates, but the last comprehensive review detailing


numbers of jobs created and links forged was in 2013. So, as the


government dropped the ball? The Scottish Government has released


a statement saying the US is an important market for Scotland


and interim arrangements are in place in the Washington


office after Daniel Jack returned Former Labour MP Tom Harris


is in the studio with me today. And, I should say, the man who ran


the Brexit campaign in Scotland. Is this turning out the way that you


wanted or expected it to turn out? It's... It is a solid a shape at the


moment as I probably expected it to be. There is a not longer bit


between now and when we finally leave the EU before we see any solid


shape of what the deal is going to look like. But the emerging view of


the British government, that they want to be out of the single market


and possibly, they are not quite solid, but possibly if not probably


out of the customs union, is that what you would have wanted? Pretty


much. Even some of the more moderate Labour MPs who have finally worked


out that freedom of movement has to change in some way, even they are


saying that is more important now than having membership of the single


market. If Theresa May can get what she says she wants, she can get


tariff free access to the single market, allowing Britain to control


its borders, of course, that is something that nobody would


criticise and everybody would welcome. But can she achieved that


in negotiations? We will find out in the next two years. The Scottish


Government would say that isn't enough, they don't just want tariff


free access, because that would mean giving up the single market it,


which means the regulations are the same across Europe. It isn't the


same. To all intents and purposes, it is the only difference is we no


longer have to pay all that money to the EU and we wouldn't have to abide


by the European Court of Justice. Collect your thoughts, because we


are going to to the chamber, where the Scottish pigment's Brexit


minister, Mike Russell, is making a statement about the judgment from


the Supreme Court about triggering Article 50.


That comes as a stinging rebuke to the UK Government and its stubborn


refusal to accept the previous unanimous court ruling that an act


of Poland was required before formal notification of the decision to


leave the EU. -- act of Parliament. Instead, it tried to plough on


towards a hard Brexit. Effective UK Parliamentary scrutiny is now


enabled. The parties and members at Westminster will have to rise to


that challenge. The SNP is more than ready to do that. Once the UK


Government publishes its Article 50 Bill, 50 SNP MPs in the House of


Commons will bring forward a range of amendments... I am sorry, to


understate the number. There are of course more than that. Far more than


the one Tory MP from Scotland in the House of Commons.


APPLAUSE SNP MPs in the House of Commons will


bring forward amendments to Claire Baker UK Government's approach to


drug ring Article 50. Some of those will seek to amend the bill so that


the UK Government must first secured unanimous agreement from the


joint... In July last year, the Prime Minister assured the First


Minister that Article 50 would not be triggered and still we had a UK


approach for negotiations, in line with Theresa May's clear and


unambiguous view of how the UK should operate, saying that it


should be a country in which Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland


and England continued to flourish side-by-side as equal partners. Of


course, that is a sentiment expressed by all of the Better


Together partners during the referendum. Taking the Prime


Minister at her word, which I'm sure will be welcomed by cheering from


the Tory benches, when it is brought forward, we will seek to enforce


that. Presiding officer, there was another aspect of the judgment,


which has made one thing crystal clear, because this whole process,


the determination of the UK Government to pursue a disastrous


hard Brexit, is revealing much about the way power is exercised in the UK


and who exercises that power. Yesterday, the Supreme Court


considered the arguments put forward in interventions to the Lord


advocate and Welsh council general on the devolution implications of


triggering Article 50 was that we are obviously disappointed with the


ruling about the legal enforceability of this, but let's be


clear about what the judgment said. Notifying the intention to leave the


EU will have significant consequences for devolved matters


and the powers of the Scottish Government, and the court explicitly


accepted that. In so doing, it's obvious that the convention is


triggered by a UK bill authorising the Article 50 notice. What the


court has ruled is that the operation of the convention is a


political, not a legal matter, and therefore outside the remit of the


court, a position urged on the court by the UK Government. It also


resisted any and all efforts to give real teeth to the Scotland act


provisions on the school convention. The UK Government has at least been


consistent. Under no circumstances, it has said, should its action be


questioned by judicial authority. The Tories may wish to reflect on


the wisdom of gloating on this point. Rather than a defeat for the


Scottish Government, the ruling exposed the inadequacy of the Smith


commission process and, for those who believe that writing Sewell into


law would represent a new status for the Scottish Parliament. It is in


fact a deceit for the Tory architects of the Scotland Bill


2016, architects including the Tory constitutional spokesman. But it is


a wider defeat. As one community commentator has noted, yesterday's


ruling is a disappointment on the rights of Holyrood is that was an


opportunity, said Kenny Farquharson of the Times, to recognise the new


reality of a changed UK. This is, he said, a depressing moment for those


of us who have consistently backed home rule for Scotland within a


reformed UK. Yesterday's ruling demonstrates how empty work the


assurances of being a partnership of equals and that the Scotland act


would represent a new settlement. The UK Government merely reinforces


the old view, the supremacy of Westminster, its immunity from


constraint by law courts or respect for this parliament.


Now, earlier this week, MSPs travelled to Brussels to rally


One them was David McAllister, who only yesterday was appointed


the chair of the European Parliament's foreign


David McAllister, can you hear me? Have you joined us? Yes, good


afternoon from Brussels. I can see you now! First of all, what is the


mood amongst MEPs towards Brexit at the moment? Is it to try to do a


friendly deal with the UK which might involve some access,


tariff-free access for Britain to the single market or is it a fear


that if that were done, it might encourage other people to do the


same? Of course I can't speak for all MEPs in Brussels and Strasbourg.


In general, I would say a huge majority deeply regrets what


happened on 23rd June in the UK. After the speech of the Prime


Minister, we know the UK is facing a hard Brexit. That means the EU will


not only leave the European Union but also have to leave the single


market. So, we're now all waiting for the Government in London to


actually trigger the Article 50 procedure and we'll go into the


details. Before that, we can't begin the negotiations as long as there's


no notification. I think a lot of my colleagues are interested in finding


a sensible deal with the British. But, as Jean-Claude Juncker put it,


the negotiations are going to be very, very difficult. When you say a


sensible deal, do you mean one where there's a bit of give and take on


both sides? It seems to be accepted Britain will be outside the single


market. Is that, in your view, quite as black and white as it seems?


Well, the Prime Minister has ruled out the Norwegian or Swiss model.


She also wants to leave the customs union so the Turkish model is also


not an option. This really only leaves, in the end, that we will


negotiate free trade agreement, a trade agreement with the UK and one


thing is clear, if the UK wants to continue to export goods into the EU


single market without tariffs and trade barriers, they will have to


respect our rules in the internal market. So, it's going to be not


easy but once again, whatever happens, the UK remains a friend,


ally and partner of the European Union. It is just so sad that this


country is leaving our family of nations. There has been some


suggestion here that there might be different deals for different parts


of industry. Something I would think you personally might take an


interest in. At one point, you were on the supervisory board of


Volkswagen through running the lower state of Saxony. Are people in


Germany concerned about what this deal the British Government seems to


have done with Nissan amounts to? Is there concern there to find out


exactly what's going on? Especially in Germany, lots of people were


disappointed after the referendum because we believe that the UK's


such a valuable and important partner for us in the European


Union. The European Union will be a different one without the British.


However, we have to respect the politics of the Government in


London. Germans in general are following very closely what's


happening in the United Kingdom. No other country's getting such media


attention when it comes to national politics as the UK is getting. We


also understand that there are big divides in your country, especially


between the four nations. I thought the 62% in favour of EU membership


in favour of Scotland was an impressive vote from the Scottish


people. When you say that, do you think there's any possibility... The


Scottish Government is arguing Scotland should be allowed to stay


in the single market perhaps by joining E FT A while remaining part


of the UK. Is that something you can see has any possibility of success?


I read the report coming from the Scottish Government with great


interest and in detail. I think it's an interesting approach to try and


find out if a part of the UK could join EFTA. This is a complicated


legal question which, at the moment, I can't comment on. You'll have to


find expertise and get an answer if E FT A will be billing willing to do


so or not. Can you see the European Union, including Germany, being


prepared to entertain such a state of affairs? This is a domestic,


British political question. Sorry, no, it's not. If Scotland were to do


that, the rest of the European Union would have to agree to Scotland


doing this. It's not just a Scottish domestic question. Yes, but the


question if Scotland could be able to join an international


organisation like E FT A would probably have to be sorted out with


London. This is a domestic political question. That's why I beg your


pardon, as a German politician, I prefer not to get dragged into these


kind of details. What is the view in Germany about this? You said people


want some sort of amicable settlement. The Brexiteers in


Britain like to say countries of the European Union, including Germany,


are so dependent on Britain for exports, they'll have to do a deal.


Is that the mood in Germany or we'll try to do a deal but if the British


just leave, it's not the end of the world? First of all, we have to get


the withdrawal agreement done. This will take two years. It will be very


ambitious. We have to get it down before the next European elections


in May 2019. Afterwards, we'll definitely need a longer period of


time, several years, to negotiate a new trade agreement. In the


meantime, the UK will have to operate in a transitional period


with the relationship with the European Union. Of course Germany


and other countries are interested in good trade relations with the UK.


It is an important market for our goods and services. But, on the


other hand, the UK is heavily dependent on the European single


market. We, as 27 member states, are in a better negotiating position


than the UK which asked for this divorce. We didn't ask for this. If


it's a soft or hard Brexit, the will's make sure it is not a nasty


or dirty Brexit. Thank you for joining us this afternoon.


Former Labour MP Tom Harris is still with me.


They don't want this but they seem quite prepared to do a deal? If


would be the implication of that. If David is representative of the kind


of approach that the EU's taking to Brexit negotiations, that's a good


sign. That's someone who's thought deeply about all of the issues,


doesn't want thereby any kind of major fisture between us and the EU


and wants to do a reasonable deal. Anyone looking at this will say the


UK's Government is not going to get all its own way nor the EU. There


will be compromise. What about the Scottish Government's approach? It's


interesting. To an extent I sympathise with the approach Nicola


Sturgeon's taking on this. As you say earlier on, it's not the choice


but if it were the choice that Scotland had to clues the EU single


market or the UK single market in the event of independence within the


EU, clearly the UK market's four times as important to the Scottish


economy as the single market in the EU is. Can I point out, Brexiteers


say, when they is brought up with regard to Britain and the importance


of trade with Europe, they say, that doesn't matter. The growth in trade


is all coming from outside the European Union. It doesn't meater


40% of our tried is with Europe, the biggest growth is outside. The same


argument could be made with Scotland relative to the UK. You can't have


your cake and eat it? Well you can according to the Foreign Secretary.


Let's look at it in purely practical economic terms. The Scottish


nationalists are saying England won't deal with an independent


Scotland. The point is, an independent Scotland, the EU will


have no control over its trade. It will be decided by the EU. If the


rest of the UK he is paying tariffs into the single market, that means


tariffs to get into the Scottish market. We need to think seriously


about the practical implications of that. In terms of politics, do you


think the British Government is playing its hand with regard to the


Scottish Government sensibly? They are giving the impression, every


time Nicola Sturgeon says something, no. Wouldn't it be more sensible to


say look, they are exciting opportunities. Let's start talks on


that rather than appearing to be saying, go away? I totally agree.


The worst thing that Conservative ministers can do is come up to


Scotland, pretend to listen. Immediately dismisit. That riles up


Scots completely understandably. What's important, yesterday's


Supreme Court ruling was a real slam dung for the UK Government. For --


dunk. For the first time, the Supreme Court reminded that the EU


is nothing to do with the Holyrood Parliament. What we heard Mike


Russell appear to be suggestioning, the join committee would have to


unanimously approve. Would it be aye right? That would be my view.


Now to this week's Prime Minister's Questions,


where Theresa May announced that a white paper on the Government's


plan to leave the EU would be laid before the Westminster parliament.


The Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, pressed her on why she had taken


so long to announce the move, and asked when she intended


Mr Speaker, the Prime Minister has wasted 80 days between the time of


the original judgment and the appeal and is now finally admitted today,


after pressure from all sides, that there's going to be a White Paper.


Could we know when this White Paper is going to be available to us? And


why, and why it's taken so long to get it? Can I say to the right


honourable gentleman, he asked for debates. I was clear there would


always be debates in this House. There have been and will continue to


be. He asked for votes. There have been. The House voted overwhelmingly


for the Government to trigger Article 50 before the end of March


this year. He asked for a plan. I set out as my honourable friend for


Croydon South said, a clear plan for a bold future for Britain. He and


others asked for a white many. I've been clear there will be a White


Paper. What I'm also clear about is that the right honourable gentleman


always asks about process, about the means to the end. I and this


Government are focusing on the outcomes. We are focusing... We're


focusing on a truly global Britain, building a stronger future for this


country, the right deal for Britain out of the European Union.


Yesterday, the Government lost in the Supreme Court. Today, we have a


very welcome U-turn on a White Paper in regards to Brexit. So, in the


spirit of progress for Parliament, in advance of meeting President


Trump, will the Prime Minister tell Parliament what she wants to achieve


in a UK/US trade deal? Can I join the right honourable gentleman in


his good wishes for a happy Burns Day. And in recognising the


bi-Centenary of the Scotsman. What do we want to achieve in terms of


our arrangements with United States? It is simple. We want to ensure the


interests of the UK are there that are put first. That's what I will be


doing. That we see trade arrangements with the United States


as we'll look for in other parts of the world, that can increase our


trade, Brigg prosperity and growth to the UK. My aim is to ensure that


economy works for everyone in every part of the United Kingdom. When she


meets with the First Minister, will she confirm whether she, the Prime


Minister, supports the principle of the Scotland Act whatever is not


reserved is deinvolved. What powers will come to the Scottish Parliament


in the event of Brexit? Can she confirm it will not be the great


power grab? I've been clear. It was ex-owed by the Secretary of State


for exiting the European Union, no powers that are currently devolved


will be suddenly taken back to the UK Government. What we will be


looking at and discussing with the devolved administrations is how we


deal with those powers which are currently in Brussels when they come


back to the UK. We want to ensure is that those powers are dealt with so


we can maintain the important single market of the UK.


to our Westminster Correspondent David Porter.


Balmy weather there, and hopefully some MPs, too. Balmy weather if you


are used to the Arctic Circle! Let me introduce my panel. Stephen


Gethins, the SNP MP, Frank McCallan from Labour, Alistair Carmichael


from the Liberal Democrats and Ian Stewart from the Conservatives, who


has the rare treat, I suppose, of having this constituency celebrating


his 50th birthday. Happy birthday to Milton Keynes! Alistair Carmichael,


the Prime Minister, Theresa May, has announced that there will be a White


Paper on Brexit. Is it a concession or was it good politics? Bowing to


the inevitable, and the fact there is going to be a White Paper doesn't


tell you much. We will judge the substance of the approach when we


see what is in the White Paper, because every time we get promised


some more information, come the day, it's always rather thinner, more


disappointing than we had been led to expect. It might be a White Paper


with quite a few blank pages in it. We certainly contribute all of the


details of our negotiating stance in advance. That isn't in the national


interest. I think it's unfair to say the Prime Minister hasn't been clear


about what her ambition is. Her speech last week was a bold and


visionary prospect of the opportunities that this country can


take advantage of. We have been coming to Parliament, we will be


coming to Parliament, there is the great repeal bill still to come,


there will be plenty of Parliamentary scrutiny, but we


cannot in any negotiations, you do not reveal your negotiating hand in


advance. I think it's fair to say that perhaps the announcement


slightly wrong-footed your party leader. Are we perhaps looking at


this through the wrong end of the telescope, saying, there will be a


White Paper, but actually the real concern should be good deal and what


comes out at the end? That is my view. In a sense, I don't think the


interesting question is whether or not there is a White Paper. I think


there will be a sizeable majority to trigger Article 50 when the votes


come. And I think that attention will then turn on the nature of the


deal. That ultimately is the most important part of this, what is our


future outside the EU going to be like? The Prime Minister set some


bars for herself last week, promising not just tariff free


access but barrier free access for our goods and services and


agriculture, and she now needs to make sure that she delivers on that


come because we are promised a vote at the end of this as well, and I


think that vote is becoming much more important. Stephen Gethins,


your party is minded to vote against Article 50. You said you would table


50 amendments on it. Article 50 is going to be triggered, so why does


the SNP not accept that? This is a job of scrutiny. This has a big


impact on everybody. Let's take the White Paper, look, I'm pleased that


Theresa May has caved in on this, but I also raised an important point


earlier, we need some substance here, so we want to see a


substantive White Paper with a bit of detail in it, and it needs to be


produced before the committee stage of any bill triggering Article 50.


We need to be able to scrutinise this properly, it is part of our job


and we have a responsibility to that. When does a substantial White


Paper veer into giving our negotiating position away? The


Scottish Government managed to produce a 670 page White Paper. We


are not asking for that number of pages, but we are asking for a bit


more detail. What happens to university funding, the food and


drink sector, EU nationals who have made the UK and Scotland their home?


These are areas we need answers on. Stephen Gethins mentioned, the


Scottish Government produced a comprehensive document on the EU and


Brexit. Would you be looking for something similar from the UK


Government? I'm not sure everyone would regard that document


necessarily as the model of what has to happen, but what I would say is


that we are involved in a lot of process here, and I think what


matters most to the viewers, to our constituents around the country is,


what is the content on this? We had a speech last week. We had major


industrial sectors here in Parliament yesterday, automotive,


aerospace, pharmaceuticals, all expressing severe concern about


where the Prime Minister's direction would lead us, and ultimately that


is what matters and what does this all do to our trading position, to


investment, to prosperity? Those things are not clear yet but I


think, as we go through this process, that is where the focus


will rightly be. I suppose, however much information the government is


able to give, the Westminster government, it is not going to be


enough for everybody, is it? There are some people who want to thwart


the whole process and imagine that the referendum never happen. Article


50 is the start of a process, not the end of it, and we will go into


these negotiations trying to get the best deal for this country. The


Prime Minister has been quite clear on some issues, like the rights of


EU residents in the UK. She wants that to be an early agreement, as


long as we can then secured the rights of UK citizens living abroad.


She has given details on this. And the person who could make that


happen today, if she chose to, is Theresa May, but still she refuses


to deal with that and to show a bit of initiative. And they are right,


negotiations will happen, the deal will then be judged. Theresa May has


conceded the principle that the government will not have the last


word on that, that Parliament will have a vote on it. I think that's


the wrong way around and, if we are to have somebody outside government


giving the final verdict on that, it shouldn't be Parliament. The process


should be finished by the people, in the same way it was started by the


people and they should be a referendum on the deal.


So that is only argument for a second vote on Europe. And on the


deal. But you would say that, when she comes back with a Brexit deal,


it should not be up to you four individuals as part of 650, it


should be up to the UK to vote again? What Theresa May is offering


Parliament is a meaningless gesture, because you know the context of that


vote in parliament, when it comes, and it will be that they dare not


thwart the will of the people as has been expressed in a referendum. That


is what you are already hearing, and I have some sympathy for that. If


there is to be a meaningful decision on this, it should be taken by the


same people who took the first decision, the people of the country


as a whole in a referendum. It is the politically consistent and


logical thing to do. The electorate at large is sovereign. If it is such


an important decision, there is some logic in saying that they should


have another say? The country has given an instruction that it is


Parliament's job to deliver on it. It seems a bit early to be talking


about a second referendum, just months after the first one, but I


asked the Prime Minister in PMQs today about the nature of this final


vote. Would it mean an alternative deal, is Parliament says no to it,


or would it mean us falling back on the world trade organisation rules


in a disorganised manner, some very high tariffs in there for particular


sectors, 10% on car exports, for example, 20% on food and drink. This


could have huge implications. So I think this point about the deal and


how it assessed at the end is going to become more important. Scotland


voted overwhelmingly to remain part of the EU, so I think we need to see


a bit of compromise from the government here. The Scottish


Government have produced plans on what could be the least worst


option. This is about protecting jobs and the economy. We need some


movement from the UK Government. The Prime Minister is about to go to


America to meet President Trump. What should she be saying? Clearly


she is closing up to the United States. It is an important partner


in trade. But it worries me broadly that we seem to be getting closer to


Trump's United States and to our like-minded European partners.


Should she be building bridges or saying, on certain things, we


disagree and I will speak out? I think the tone of what she says is


very important. I think it's a shame that President Trump chose his


inauguration speech to emphasise some of the more divisive themes in


his campaign, than doing what new presidents have traditionally done,


bringing people together, and I think she has some important


messages to deliver, about Nato not being obsolete but a cornerstone of


collective western defence and not putting Chancellor Merkel and


President Putin in the same bracket, as he recently did in a newspaper


interview. This is quite a feather in Theresa May's cap, but it is also


important for setting the tone between the new president and the


international community. We have a special relationship with the US,


and we have had it for many decades. As a close friend of America,


sometimes close friends say harsh truths. I think the Prime Minister


has been clear on things like climate change, which came up today,


that she will not be afraid to take a different line. The special


relationship is between the two peoples of Britain and the US.


Sometimes the administrations have a more special relationship and


others. This is an important point for setting the tone of that


relationship. Donald Trump said some worrying things during the campaign


and, to my mind, one of the most worrying is his intention to


reinstate the American torture programme. There are significant


strategic issues for the UK. We have always shared intelligence with the


United States. We cannot share intelligence with a country that


openly uses torture. Thank you very much. The clock has beaten us. But I


am sure next week we will be discussing Brexit and maybe that


visit to Washington. Tom Harris, Trump. Are you a fan? Good grief,


no! I was hugely upset and disappointed on the morning after


the election but, as I wrote a number of times before and, the


democrats, Trump didn't win, the Democrats lost, deliberately


choosing a candidate that they knew had incredibly huge negative ratings


and many people in America distrusted, but they thought she


could beat Trump easily, let's put her up, and it was a disaster. They


have to learn from that. Would you think that there is something


similar going on as happened in Britain? Hillary Clinton was the


representative par excellence of the elites, basically giving lectures to


people about economics, in the same way that arguably the Remain people


won the referendum, and that rhetoric has failed to connect?


There was a huge arrogance, and it wasn't just economics. Most of her


messages were right, but she was giving lectures, not just about


economics but an identity politics. She made an arrogant assumption


that, if you were black, Latino, a woman, she automatically deserved


that support, irrespective of how she ran her campaign, irrespective


of her own record in government. That kind of entitlement and


arrogance is always going to lose, and I hope the Democrats remember


that in four years' time. Trade deals. It all sounds great though,


I'll go to America and make deal with Donald Trump, well, you can't


make a trade deal with the United States until you are outside the EU,


but the difficulty of trade deals is in the detail. Just because you can


go and negotiate with other countries, which the Brexiteers


making out is a great triumph, doesn't mean the deal you will end


up with is any good, especially with countries like the States, which are


in a powerful position. I think that's right, but the one advantage


we would have negotiating a great deal outside the EU is that, when we


are members of the EU, every trade deal has to be agreed by all 28


nations, which is why it takes many years for the negotiations to


finish. We hope that, if there is a bilateral trade deal between the UK


and US, it will be much quicker, but obviously I would recommend that we


don't sign anything unless it is of direct benefit to the whole UK.


Again, it's about power. To take one example, I think I'm right in saying


that the UK still won't import American beef that's been treated


with hormones. -- the EU. Donald Trump comes along and says, hey, I


want my beef exported to Britain and, if you don't do this, you're


not getting that. They are in a more powerful position to do that with


Britain that they would with the European Union. Absolutely, but here


is the difference. If a British governance signed a trade deal that


the people are not happy with, we can get rid of that government. If


the EU signed a deal that we are not happy with, there is nothing we can


do to get rid of that. But, because this is a power relationship, it


doesn't matter, so the next element goes to Donald Trump and says,


almost treated cows, and America say, get lost. It is a power


relationship, but we are not going to be forced into signing it, and I


think, looking back to last year when President Obama, of whom I am a


huge time, he came over and he riled a lot of people by saying we would


be at the back of the -- the back of the queue for trade deals. If


Theresa May can for a good relationship with the Trump


administration and we benefit from that, I don't see why anybody should


complain. The First Minister has


accused Scottish Labour of being "destructive" as the party


calls for Holyrood not to support the government's budget


in a debate this afternoon. Labour claim it's an austerity


budget which cuts ?327 million where the Deputy Leader Alex Rowley


is now speaking. THE SPEAKER: I call on he will


ex-roly to move the motion. Up to 13 minutes. Thank you, in moving this


motion today and bringing forward this debate we want to encourage a


wider discussion in this Parliament and across the country to build a


consensus about the kind of public services we want in Scotland and how


they are to be paid for. Whilst we will make the case today for using


the powers of this Parliament to invest in public services, we also


make the case for using the resources we have in the most


effective and efficient way to tackle the big challenges we face of


deep-rooted povertiy and deprivation in our communities through a


comprehensive anti-poverty strategy for Scotland and for a more direct


Government action to grow our economy increasing the resources


available for investment. So, in a time where too many of our public


services are struggling to cope and some veer towards crisis, we say


Government should increase the tax take by asking those who can pay a


bit more, to do so. But alongside this, we also say we must be more


ambition in driving our economy in increasing the tax take in the


medium term by supporting more people into decent jobs. The budget


has is stands does not and will not achieve these aims. Let me begin


with local government. I want to make the point, if we are to succeed


in tackling poverty, closing the attainment gap, developing high


quality local services and growing the economy across Scotland, we node


to do Government differently. The fact is that Scotland is one of the


most centralised country in the Western World. The creation of the


Scottish Parliament in 1999 did not lead to a continuing devolution of


power closer to the people. Instead, we have seen politicians in Holyrood


trying to control more and more of the power and decision making away


from the local level. This centralist approach has led to a


much weaker relationship between local and Central Government in


Scotland and all too often, a lower quality of service has been


delivered as a result. I wonder if the member would accept the


relationship between central and local government was extremely poor


under the last Labour/Liberal Democrat administration because of


ring-fencing? It is a fact it is extremely broken down, the


relationship between central and local government right now. This


failure to build on that relationship has also resulted in


the failure to bring together the key people and organisations needed


to plan and drive our economy at the local, regional and national level.


One size fits all central control is not best for Scotland.


its Dean Lockhart, James Kelly from Scottish Labour, and Ross Greer


Now let's speak to some MSPs at Holyrood.


I'm joined by Ash Denham for the SNP, For the Conservatives


its Dean Lockhart, James Kelly from Scottish Labour, and Ross Greer


On the budget, Ross Greer, have the Greens given up? Are you not going


to do a deal on the budget? We're style trying to negotiate with the


Scottish Government. The negotiations are pretty difficult.


We're coming from two different places on tax policy in particular.


We're trying to come to a deal at this point. You won't do a deal


unless they change their tax proposals, is that correct?


Fundamentally what it's about. We can more likely come to an agreement


on spending priorities. Tax is critical here. That's how we avoid


making unnecessary cuts. Therefore, they're more likely to do a deal


with the Liberal Democrats? They're not insisting they change their tax


policies? The spending proposals the Liberal Democrats have proposed are


theirs to deend if. I don't #125e thinkle Scottish Government will


agree with that. An agreement with us would require a shift from the


Government to a fairer and more progressive taxation system. James


Kelly, why are you ruling out any agreement? Will you vote against the


Scottish budget under any circumstances? The SNP have made is


quite clear they're putting forward a budget which entails ?327 million


of cuts to local councils. That means jobs will be lost, libraries


could be closed and care packages under threat. That's completely


unacceptable to us. As an alternative... What should they cut


instead given much of their budget still comes from London? Are you


saying they should ignore the Barnet settlement or what would you suggest


cutting instead? The important thing about this budget is the Government


have much more in terms of tax raising powers. It is completely


unacceptable those on the top rate earning over ?150,000 aren't being


asked to pay a bit more to protect local communities and support local


councils. Dean Lockhart, are there any circumstances imaginable in


which you would support the Scottish budget? We've said we don't want


Scotland to be the highest tax part of the UK. That's because we really


need to boss the economy in Scotland. Economic growth here is


the third of rest of the UK. We're saying keep Scotland competitive


with the rest of the UK in tax. Going forward, the Scottish budget


will depend on growth in Scotland and the growth of tax revenues


coming from the Scottish workforce. It is really important that our


fundamental priority is increasing the economy. If we're the highest


tax part of the UK that's not a budget we can support. Ash Denham,


one imagines the Scottish Government, the SNP will be very


reluctant to change their proposals in tax? So does that mean you're


more likely to find some agreement with the Liberal Democrats than the


Greens? What we've put forward is a budget for growth. A budget for


investment into infrastruck fewer and a budget that protects local


services and prioritises things which are important to local people.


That's not what I asked you. In any budget, I'm not criticising you for


making compromises. Any Government has to do that. It would be easier


for you to compromise on spending, would it not, than to compromise on


your tax proposals? The budget we've put forward is best on the manifesto


commitments we went to the public with. There's strong support for the


budget that we've put forward. Obviously, the Scottish Government


is listening. We're listening to the Parliament and also listening to


other stakeholders. Clearly, we will need to do a deal on this. So, I


believe there are negotiations that are ongoing. At the moment, we don't


know, watch this space. We don't think is this is a time to put up


taxes across the board. Families are struggling at the moment. We've all


the uncertainty coming at us because of the Tories seem determined to


drag Scotland off a Brexit cliff edge. This is a time to protect


families' budgets, investment in public services and keep the economy


going. Talking of Brexit clef edges, Mike Russell seemed to be suggesting


in Parliament, if I understood him correctly, he seemed to be


suggesting the joint ministerial committee, this meeting of the


devolved representatives of the devolved Governments, would have to


unanimously accept triggering Article 50 before it could go ahead?


Did he just make that up or is there any possible basis for saying that?


No-one has ever understood the joint ministerial committee is something


that has to come to unanimous decisions. That's no what it does?


What we're saying is whilst we welcome the decision made in the


Supreme Court ruling yesterday that the Sewell convention is not a legal


obligation, we think it is clearly a democratic obligation and Scotland's


voice must be heard. And if it isn't, it will be a defeat for


democracy. What we are saying is Scotland must be consulted.


Consultation must be consultation. Consultation is one thing, saying


that the joint ministerial committee has to approve the triggering of


Article 50 is completely different from what you've just said? The SNP


will put forward a number of amendments to the Act of


Parliament... That's a different issue. One of those will be about


the JMC. Dean Lockhart, do you see this as being... Well, Ash Denham,


she said this will be one of the amendments the SNP put forward to


the bill? The SNP are free to put forward amendments in terms of the


legislation put for for the EU. The Supreme Court judgment is clear this


is a reserve matter. The UK is an EU member state. It is the UK who will


decide the leaving, the terms upon which we leave the EU the judgment


was very clear. The SNP are using Brexit as a political football to


agitate for another referendum which will create more uncertainty. To be


fair to Ash Denham, she didn't mention another referendum. James


Kelly, I presume you agree with every word James Lockhart said,


would you? Sorry, Dean Lockhart. It is really regrettable we lost the


referendum. I campaigned strongly for remain. Brexit is a disaster.


The join ministerial committee would have to ewe none mousily approve


triggering Article 50? He needs to back up what he's saying with facts


and analysis to see if there's any accuracy. In one sentence, do you


like the idea or is it pure bluster? Decisions which have a huge impact


on the powers of the devolved Parliaments in Scotland, Wales and


Northern Ireland, should be issues we come to a collective agreement


on. The Government in Westminster isn't interested in do EU doing


that. They want to override us We'll have to leave it there.


This join ministerial committee, it's different if Ash Denham's


saying they can put that as an amendment to the bill and if


Parliament approved it, the joint ministerial committee would have to?


I've been in meetings of the joint ministerial committee, it's not


nearly as exiting as the Brexit Minister in Holyrood makes it sound.


If they pass the amendment, the meetings could get very exciting


indeed. Indeed. The SNPs have promised they'll put forward auto#50


amendments to the Government's bill even before they've seen a single


line of what the bill's going to say. They'll put forward 50


amendments which seems to me a peculiar round number. Ash said


Scotland's voice needs to be heard on this. People have been saying


knowingly over the past 24 hours, it depends on how they produce this


bill how many amendments are put forward which has left me and others


thinking, sorry, why? One theory is the Government will put forward a


one-liner bill. Why stop people putting amendments? It doesn't stop


them. The first thing to vote on is a programme motion discussings how


long the arm will discuss this in committee stage. Does that mean a


shorter time if one line? Maybe two days to pull a figure out of the


air. You then put in 50 amendments and they get talked out? No, not all


of the amendments will be called by the Deputy Speaker. He has to chose


which amendments he will select to be debated. Not everything that


tabled. The ones he likes you but with an eye to the fact as you've


suggested, there might only be two days? Yes. And he will try to get as


broad a subject matter as possible. Maybe 20 amend thes on the same


subject, he'll pick one of them. Thank you. That's cleared things up


a bit. Thank you. Join us for First Minister's


Questions tomorrow Robert Burns never travelled


to America. In America, Burns was


the 19th century Elvis. Many, from Lincoln to Dylan,


have identified with his works.


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