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Leaving the EU

Volume 671: debated on Wednesday 12 February 2020

6. What recent assessment his Department has made of the (a) economic and (b) social effect on Scotland of the UK leaving the EU. (900713)

Now that we have left the European Union, we are free to determine our own future. We want 2020 to be a year of economic and social growth for Scotland and the rest of the UK.

The Secretary of State has stated in the Chamber that the UK internal market represents the majority of Scotland’s total export market, and it is therefore vital that he makes provision to develop and strengthen that market. Will he confirm that the Government will prioritise the UK’s internal market over any future US-UK trade deal that the Prime Minister wants with Donald Trump?

I absolutely can because the UK internal market is so important for this country and Scotland. The Secretary of State has mentioned some figures today, and Scotland does 1.5 times more in trade with the rest of the UK than it does with the EU and the rest of the world combined.

The financial services sector is a major employer in my Chelmsford constituency, as well as in Scotland. Will my hon. Friend ensure that all parts of the Scottish economy are preserved and cared for in our future trade negotiations?

Absolutely. The future of Scotland’s economy and the UK economy will be buoyant, and as we leave the European Union we want to ensure that all our sectors continue to thrive. I assure my hon. Friend that we in the Scotland Office will do everything possible to facilitate those discussions.

The response we have heard from the Government Front Bench today might explain why the Minister has lost half of his Scottish colleagues, why the SNP is at 51% in the polls and why the majority of the Scottish people now want independence. In the real world, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster says that border checks are now inevitable for almost everybody because of the Government’s disastrous Brexit. How will this help Scottish business?

The hon. Gentleman mentions the real world, so let us look at the real world in Scotland where the SNP is in power: we have bridges that people cannot get across; we have hospitals that it cannot open; and we have an education system that is failing. That is the record that the Scottish Government and the SNP will have to go to the people in a little over 15 months’ time. I look forward to that election, when what the Scottish Government and the SNP have done to Scotland since 2007 will have an impact on the result.