Skip to main content

EU Membership

Volume 607: debated on Wednesday 23 March 2016

5. What recent discussions he has had with Ministers of the Scottish Government on UK membership of the EU. (904204)

As the First Minister and I both confirmed last week when we shared a platform in St Andrews, in the hon. Gentleman’s own constituency, the official position of both the UK and Scottish Governments is that the UK is better off in a reformed EU.

First, may I associate myself with the remarks about Brussels, having spent many happy years in that wonderful city? Secondly, the Secretary of State will be aware of the benefits that EU membership has brought us, such as paternal rights and holiday entitlement. Does he agree that we should focus on those benefits, not a rerun of “Project Fear”?

I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman saw the details of my speech yesterday, in which I made a positive case setting out the benefits to Scotland of our remaining in the EU, but I look forward to sharing platforms over the coming weeks with him and his colleagues to make that case.

Given that we have a £62 billion a year trade deficit with the EU, does the Secretary of State think that, were we to leave the EU, the Prime Minister would have the ability to negotiate a free trade deal with the EU?

My position is clear: I believe that Scotland and the UK are better off in the EU under the reformed arrangement that the Prime Minister has already negotiated.

14. Will the right hon. Gentleman recognise that a recent survey confirmed that the Scottish Government were one of the most trusted Governments in Europe? Does he look forward to the re-election of Nicola Sturgeon and her team so that we can continue being the most trusted Government in Europe, including beyond 23 June? (904214)

I want to ensure that Nicola Sturgeon and her team are held properly to account in the Scottish Parliament, which is why I am encouraging people to vote for Ruth Davidson and the Scottish Conservatives.