NEW East Lothian SNP MP George Kerevan has predicted four independent parliaments for Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland within a generation.
In his maiden speech in the Commons, he also spoke out against austerity and taunted the Tories over the size of their financial contribution to the European Union.
Mr Kerevan had asked pupils at schools across East Lothian to suggest what he should say in his first speech at Westminster, when members traditionally describe their constituency to fellow MPs. He said: “It’s a county of small towns, where people think hard and work hard. It’s a county of radical traditions. It’s the county that brought Presbyterianism to Scotland. It’s the county that gave the world John Knox.”
He also mentioned Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun, a leading opponent of the 1707 Act of Union, and late Labour MP John Mackintosh, a strong advocate of home rule.
He waxed lyrical about East Lothian’s lush pastures, its North Sea coast, the Lammermuir Hills, and its agriculture and fishing, It was often described as the “garden of Scotland”, he said.
But he pointed to the contradiction of families in poverty in an area so rich in food and resources. “We cannot be the breadbasket of Scotland and have children go to bed hungry.”
His speech came in a debate about Europe and he said the financial contribution the UK government had made to the EU in the past five years of Tory-Lib Dem coalition was roughly the same as in the previous 13 years of Labour government.
“You have managed to double what you give to the EU,” he said.
And although David Cameron boasted of bringing down the EU budget, the cash contribution from the UK would be much the same as before, while other countries like Denmark and Austria had negotiated lower contributions.
Mr Kerevan said just as Europe was a family of nations, so was the UK. “In my tenure here, as well as representing as best I can the people of East Lothian, I would like to help to heal the division between the four nations. I think we will see within a generation four independent parliaments in this Atlantic archipelago. We will co-operate, we will have a common market, we will probably have a common defence policy. When we co-operate together as separate nations we will challenge the world.”