11/05/2016 Scottish Questions


Highlights of Scottish Questions from Westminster.

Similar Content

Browse content similar to 11/05/2016. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



Hello and welcome to a slightly damp Westminster for the may edition of


Scottish questions. Coming less than a week after the elections to the


Holyrood parliament. Down here there is one issue that is dominating


politics. That is the EU and the upcoming referendum. Should the UK


stay in or should it leave the EU? As we are about to find out, it was


that question and discussions around it, that dominated Scottish


questions. Order, order. I have to tell the


house that yesterday, together with other right honourable and


honourable members, I attended upon Her Majesty The Queen to deliver the


House's message of congratulations on her 90th birthday. Her Majesty


made the following reply... Members of the House of the is, I am most


grateful to you for your address on the occasion of my 90th birthday. I


have been deeply touched by the many messages of congratulations, which I


have received on this particular birthday. And I warmly reciprocate


the good wishes of members of the House of, is at this time. In order.


Questions to the Secretary of State for Scotland. Patricia Gibson.


Question number one, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, can I begin by


congratulating Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish National Party on


achieving the largest number of seats in last week's Scottish


Parliament elections. And say I look forward to working with her and the


new Scottish Government for the benefit of the people of Scotland. I


would like to answer questions one, two, three, six, seven and eight


together. The government's position is Scotland and the UK will be


stronger, safer and better off remaining in a reformed EU.


Membership of the EU reduces costs for Scottish businesses, supports


jobs in Scotland and provides an export market currently worth 11.6


billion pounds. A rerun of a project fear from the Prime Minister will


not win the European referendum. Stories of war, genocide and


economic crashes are not in keeping with making a positive case for the


EU. Can Secretary of State tell the House when we hear the positive case


for remaining the EU? Can I add my congratulations to the honourable


lady's Husband on his re-election to the Scottish Parliament, where I am


sure his witty repartee will be welcomed. What I say to the


honourable lady, is she and her colleagues repeatedly called for a


positive campaign for Scotland to remain in the EU, but all we hear


about from then is process and calls for a second recommend. I call on


them to disregard that approach and start setting out the positive case


themselves. The UK Government has shown disregard for Scotland's


higher education by scrapping the poster do work Visa against the


unanimous wishes of the business and Scottish political parties. Does the


Secretary of State accept a crippling effect is EU referendum is


having in its ability to attract young talent to Scotland? What I


believe is the biggest issue that faces Scotland currently, is the


uncertainty over the Scottish Government's inability to rule out a


second independence referendum, which they could quite easily do. I


look forward to the First Minister, if she is re-elected, setting out


clearly we aren't going to have a second independence referendum. The


Scottish affairs select committee has carried out a good report into


the Visa issue and the government is looking at it. Does the Secretary of


State considered the 60% of the UK landings in Scotland, a Scottish


Fisheries Minister should lead during the UK presidency of the EU?


Is the Secretary of State still stuck in this Westminster rut of


some nations being more equal than others? Mr Speaker, my position is


Scotland voted to remain part of the United Kingdom and that the United


Kingdom represents Scotland's interests on fishing in the EU. The


honourable lady may be aware the Scottish Government and UK


Government have been discussing intergovernmental relations, and in


particular how these issues of representation at the EU should


work. My understanding is the SNP previously were in agreement with


those proposals. This week report was critical of the UK Government's


approach to the energy sector, saying it is not only stalling


investment were jeopardising UK energy security. Does the Secretary


of State agreed the best way for Scotland's energy policy to


developers within the EU? I absolutely agree that it is in the


best interests of Scotland to remain in the EU and it is in the best


interests of Scotland to remain in the UK. Because it has been clearly


set out the best way forward for Scotland's energy sector is to have


a UK wide common market. We clearly want the UK to remain part of the


EU, I am wondering if the Secretary of State's mission is to antagonise


as many Scots as possible before the referendum. Will he agree, should


Scotland be dragged out of the EU against its will, it will be a major


constitutional change? The honourable gentleman might be


interested to know that tomorrow night I am sharing a platform with


the former deputy leader of the SNP, where I will be making the positive


case for Scotland remaining in the EU. I understand he will be making


the case for Scotland leaving the EU. The Royal College of psychiatry


has warned that UK leaving the EU would remove rights for psychiatric


uses. Would he join me in safeguarding mental health and


prevent any attempts for Scotland to leave the European Convention on


human rights? The honourable lady is aware that the government is going


to bring forward a consultation on a bill of rights post the EU


referendum. But I do agree with her, the united kingdom remaining in VUE


is for the benefit of everyone in Scotland. Mr Speaker, would the


Secretary of State agreed that the government is split on the issue of


when we should remain in the European Union, just as the SNP are.


Would the secretary of state say it is embarrassing for the government


to be associated with that lot? Mr Speaker, what this government does


which the Scottish National Party doesn't always do is respect people


have different opinions. My view is very firmly that Scotland should


remain in the EU, but I recognise and respect there are people in


Scotland, including SNP voters and supporters who want Scotland to


leave the EU. Therefore, that is why we are having a referendum, that is


why we are having a debate and the people will have their say. Mr


Speaker, why hasn't my right honourable friend emphasised that


when we leave the European Union, the Scottish Parliament, the


Scottish Government and the Scottish people will have control over


Scottish fishing waters? I don't leave, Mr Speaker, the best


interests of Scottish fishermen, Scottish farmers or the general


population of Scotland would be served by leaving beat you. Because


my honourable friend, will note that large amounts of fish, particularly


shellfish caught off the west coast of Scotland, goes to a European


market. Does my right honourable friend agree that Scotland, like the


rest of the United Kingdom, would be safer if it left the European Union,


because as the former head of MI6 has said, Britain is Europe's leader


in intelligence and security matters and gives much more than it gets in


return? No. What assessment has the Secretary of State undertaken as to


why the SNP are so keen on the EU, when it is clear the EU is in the


global economic slow lane, when the EU unemployment rates are so much


higher, including youth unemployment, over 50% in certain


countries. And the common fisheries policy, has over the years,


decimated the Scottish fishing fleet? Mr Speaker, I do know the


inherent contradiction in the SNP position because every argument they


use for Scotland remaining in the EU were arguments they dismissed in


relation to Scotland remaining in the United Kingdom. On this


occasion, I will forgive them, because I believe, like them, it is


in Scotland's best interest to remain in the EU. A pensioner in my


right honourable friend's constituency would like to say how


pleased she is at having two things to choose from and is seeking


reassurance in a reformed EU as a pensioner, she will be better off? I


am absolutely clear that the reforms which the Prime Minister brought


forward will improve the EU for pensioners and citizens right across


Scotland. I also believe it is not the end of the reform process. The


EU is not perfect, even after these reforms. It is up to the UK to lead


in reforming the EU, not withdraw from it. I know the Secretary of


State will be aware the EU is based on its current member state. What


assessment has been made of the Scottish Parliament election results


in ensuring the integrity of one of its largest members and removing the


prospect of Scotland having to join as a new member? What I would say to


my honourable friend, there was a clear message from last week's


Scottish Parliament elections. The people of Scotland don't want


another referendum. I hope the First Minister has heard that message loud


and clear. The EU referendum is about the UK's membership of the EU.


It is not a rerun of the Scottish Independence Referendum Bill. Can I


take this opportunity to congratulate all MSPs elected last


week and the SNP historic third term in government in Scotland. I do have


to say in Edinburgh South, it was a net gain from the SNP. Can I


congratulate the secretary of state on his son Oliver being elected to


the Scottish Parliament. They also both have fetching beards. With the


word fetching the used loosely! The evidence is clear the UK and


Scotland are stronger in the EU. In the Scottish context, 42% of


exports, a quarter of a million jobs, 10% of higher education


spending and a whole host of social protection. Can the Secretary of


State give assurance that all MSPs will be campaigning to stay in the


European Union? I thank the honourable gentleman for his


congratulations and the congratulations to my son. The high


point of the election for me was when somebody on the door said, you


look a lot like your dad. But that aside, what I can assure him, is


there will be a robust and proper debate in Scotland. Ruth Davidson,


head of the beginning of this referendum process, made her


position very clear on supporting Scotland remaining in the EU. But we


cannot hide the fact there are people in Scotland who would like to


leave the EU. I think their views should be reflected. The


Conservative Party isn't frightened in Scotland to hide the fact there


are different views. There are different views across Scotland.


The Secretary of State has not told us what Oliver's response was.


Everyone knows that this referendum is more about settling old scores in


the Conservative Party than doing what is best for the UK and indeed


Scotland. They also know that the SNP are desperate for any excuse to


trigger another referendum. The truth is, and we all know, that the


UK is better in the EU and Scotland is better off in the UK. Isn't it


the case that the Secretary of State has taken a huge gamble with the


future of the UK and the future of Scotland? Absolutely not. What we


have done is to allow the people of Scotland and the people across the


United Kingdom to have their say on this important issue. And they will


do. And we need to have a debate in Scotland. I am campaigning


vigorously, as he appears to be, for Scotland to remain in the EU. People


like Jim Sillars are campaigning for Scotland to leave the EU. Let's have


a vigorous debate in Scotland over the next few weeks and I look


forward to sharing a platform with him and SNP colleagues.


May I add my congratulations to the election of Oliver on Dell to the


Scottish Parliament? Candy Secretary of State confirm that he will


continue to champion the Scotland Bill, which he passed through this


House, which is given so much powers to the Scottish Parliament, to


ensure that Scottish people continue to benefit not just being in the UK,


but being in the EU as well? Thank you for that from my honourable


friend. I must get my son elected more often because there are more


plaudits today than I recall ever previously at Scottish questions!


What I would say to him is that of course we will move forward with the


implementation of the Scotland Bill. But we will also work hard to


achieve a positive outcome for Scotland in the EU referendum. Does


the Secretary of State agree that the high levels of support in


Scotland for remaining in the European Union could be improved


further still if Scottish farmers could be confident they can get


their capital payments when they are supposed to? The right Honourable


gentleman raises a very important point. The reason the payments have


not been made to farmers in Scotland is due to the previous SNP Scottish


government. And any attempts to suggest it was the EU is incorrect.


I think that farmers and others know the benefits to Scotland of being in


the EU and will vote to remain. If the EU were to withdraw from the EU,


what impact would this have on Scotland and the EU relationship


with Malawi, which I know my honourable friend has recently been


to? My honourable friend knows that I did recently visit Malawi. And


without being indiscreet, I can firmly say the Malawian government


are in favour of Scotland and the UK staying in the EU. It seems like a


minority of Scottish people want to leave the EU. What is his message,


as Secretary of State, what is his message to the Scottish people if we


are taken out of the EU against our National Collective well? I think


that is another positive campaigning point from the SNP. It is not for me


to give the SNP advice. But if my vote had fallen by 500,000 from the


general election, I would be focusing on getting my supporters


out to vote on the 23rd of June to ensure that Scotland votes to


remain. We on these benches are delighted that in the run-up to the


European Union referendum, the Scottish electorate has returned a


pro-European SNP government. Returned with the highest vote of


any party currently Anni were in national elections Anni were in


Western Europe. -- anywhere. Most people in Scotland are very pleased


that when given the opportunity the Scottish electorate did not return a


single MSP from the UK Independence Party and there is a majority in the


Scottish parliament for Scottish independence as a member of the


European Union. On the case for remaining in the EU -- EU, will the


UK government concentrate police are making a positive and inspiring case


to stay rather than warming endless scare stories up? I made it clear to


the honourable gentleman that that is exactly what my intention is.


Perhaps he could undertake today to stop obsessing about process and a


second Scottish Independence Referendum, and concentrate himself


entirely on the positive reasons for Scotland remaining in the EU. If


Scotch whiskey is the largest net goods exporter to the European


Union, both from Scotland and for the United Kingdom as a whole, does


the Secretary of State agree that the European single market is


profoundly important and positive for the ?1 billion of trade, meaning


there is no need for customs forms, duplication of labelling and safety


requirements? Will heat stress the positive advantages to the whiskey


industry and all exporters from Scotland, to jobs and profitability,


by remaining within the European single market and the European


Union? I am absolutely clear that what the honourable gentleman states


is the case and I am sure that he will have welcomed the visit to


Scotland yesterday my right friend, the secretary of state for Defra, to


stress the importance to the whiskey industry of remaining within the


single market. The particular pointy makes about duplication in relation


to labelling certification and licensing our once which the Scotch


Whisky Association have made, and once the public will take into


account in voting in the referendum. Of course this is an important


sector and it faces difficult times. That is why I am delighted the


Chancellor announced a ?1 billion package in the budget reducing


headline rates of tax, major investment opportunities and


encouragement in exploration, infrastructure, and a quarter of ?1


billion Aberdeen city deal along with the creation of


interministerial groups specifically targeting the oil and gas sector.


Does the Minister agree that we need a long-term approach to secure the


future of the jobs in the oil and gas industry in the North Sea? And


that part of the future is making sure the skills developed over many


decades are not lost? I could not agree with my honourable friend


more. That is why, as I said, we have established an interministerial


group specifically looking at this and many other issues. In this -- in


a short period of time we will publish our workforce plan.


The gas industry provides vital stocks to Britain's largest


manufacturing sector. Can the Minister assure the House the


government will continue to support as many jobs as it can in this vital


sector? The short answer is of course, yes. I would like to pay


tribute to my honourable friend for the work he does in relation to


chemicals. In very important sector. I'm very pleased to see the sort of


work they are doing to increase exports. Last week I raised concerns


related to the transatlantic trade and investment and the threat to our


public services. Only for these to be dismissed by the Prime Minister


row. -- PM. With the Secretary of State make representations to the


Prime Minister to insist on specific exemptions? Mr Speaker, on this


dispatch box, I and other ministers have repeatedly said that these


sorts of claims... I'm waiting for the honourable member to take his


seat. I do not wish to be rude to the honourable lady, but this is


absolute rubbish she puts forward. The Prime Minister is absolutely


right. This is a red herring. I undertake to share with her all of


the letters from impartial sources that have written to support our


intention that public services, especially the NHS, have no threat


whatsoever. It is a good idea. The Minister, I


hope, is aware of the increasing anxiety of Scottish entities


ironworkers about reductions in investment in safety offshore and


the failure of many companies to work what personally would trade


union safety representatives. What recent assessment has she made of


safety offshore? What can we say to our constituents to reassure them


the government is on the case? Can I thank the honourable gentleman


for his question? He makes some very important points. I am more than


happy to meet with him to discuss these, including any allegations


that the unions have not been fully engaged with. I do not have


difficulty with trade unions. More than happy to meet to discuss this


important matter. The trade union act is now waiting


Royal assent. I should say it is about employment and industrial


relations law, which are reserved matters and will deploy consistently


across the United Kingdom. We have engaged with the Scottish government


through the passage of the bill and we will carry on with that work.


Despite the trade union bill's worst elements being removed or water


down, it is still a bad bill. Does the Secretary of State agree that a


bad bill will not make for good industrial relations in Scotland? I


do not share his views on the act. I think it is an excellent act and I


fully support it and its aims. Parties in Wales and Scotland have


prepared legislative consent memorandums on the trade union Bill


on the basis that it clearly impinges on devolved competencies.


In the light of this thus the Minister not know agree that builds


should be subject to legislative consent motion is? What action with


the government to take to ensure that similar circumstances do not


arise in future? I am reliably informed that has. I think the


honourable lady is just not up to date. Row with the relegation of


labour to third place in the Scottish Elections Bill, with the


Minister agree that now is exactly the right time to be introducing an


opt in system for union members rather than it being a default


position? The honourable lady makes a very good point. Can I pay


handsome tribute to the outstanding Ruth Davidson? Like the Prime


Minister, she is a moderate, sensible conservative, one nation


Conservative. She has turned the skies of Scotland blue with, if I


may say, a Roz -- a rather pleasing tint of pink at the edges.


The government made a number of concessions on the trade union act


but the act still seeks to undermine constrictive social partnership.


Given that the government says that it believes in mutual respect


between central government and the devolved institutions, will it now


hold immediate discussions with the devolved institutions about how the


act will relate to Scotland and Wales? Discussions are always


continuing. I think this is another red herring. The honourable


gentleman is out of touch. The act is good for Britain, good for trade


unions, good for future working relations.


I'm afraid that is all we have time for at the moment. Because of the


Parliamentary calendar, the next Scottish questions will be on the


6th of July, when we will know the result of that all-important EU


referendum. I would imagine that and the fallout from that vote will


dominate the next Scottish questions.


From all of us, goodbye.


Download Subtitles