Secret Brexit talks by Tories and Labour show they know it was a mistake. But only independence will allow Scotland to rejoin EU – Angus Robertson
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Once upon a time, the UK Opposition was there to oppose the UK Government. Now it seems Labour are really nodding donkeys, agreeing with the Conservatives to cement Brexit just with minor tweaks. It should outrage all progressives in the UK that Labour is prepared to meet the Tories behind closed doors and work as a Westminster establishment to press on with hard Brexit.
It’s clearer than ever that the Tories and Labour are united in going against all good judgement and continuing the UK’s commitment to the most economically damaging policy this country has ever pursued. According to media reports, prominent Labour and Tory Brexiteers and Remainers met in private at Ditchley Park in Oxfordshire.
They included on the Leaver side: Michael Gove, former Tory party leader Michael Howard, ex-Tory Chancellor Norman Lamont and former Labour Europe minister Gisela Stuart. Meanwhile, the Remain side included Keir Starmer’s shadow Defence Secretary, John Healey, former European commissioner and Labour Cabinet minister, Peter Mandelson, and former Tory Deputy Prime Minister David Lidington.
They broke bread during what was described as a “private discussion” on the subject of “How can we make Brexit work better with our neighbours in Europe?” One attendee said the discussion revolved around the notion that “Brexit is not delivering [and] our economy is in a weak position”. Quelle surprise!
Alongside the politicos attending were diplomats, civil servants and representatives from some of the world’s largest businesses, including Goldman Sachs. Noticeably, and despite the impact of Brexit being hardest upon and increasing the number of poor and vulnerable, it appears no charities, community groups, or campaigners tackling these issues were invited.
Perhaps the biggest slap in the face for all of us is the fact they tried to keep these talks secret. In public, they say that Brexit was either the right decision or that it can be made to work. In private, they agree what we all know: it just can’t.
The attempt to keep us all out of the loop is all the more bewildering when the general public overwhelmingly believes Brexit was a bad idea. Recent polling showed only one of the 650 constituencies in the UK thought Brexit was the right decision. Two were split 50/50. Everywhere else, (647 constituencies) people now know Brexit was a mistake.
We’re in a sorry state and, by committing to Brexit, the Tories and Labour are committed to the UK’s failure. In Scotland, we want none of it. The SNP is the only party that wants to rejoin the EU. The only party that believes Brexit cannot be made to work and the best way to bolster our economy and wider opportunities is by being in the world’s largest political and economic union.
The fact is that we cannot do this while we’re ruled by Westminster. Only independence can deliver our membership of the EU. Do you really believe that the Brexiteer Tory and Labour parties are pursuing your economic interests? Provably, they are not. In Scotland, we will continue to pursue independence in Europe, precisely because it is in our interests.