Ian Murray, Labour MP for Edinburgh South, has written to the Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson urging her to back a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal.
As you will be aware, the devastating reality of a hard Brexit has become clearer in recent weeks. New figures suggest the Chequers deal would cost our country £500 per person per year, while in the case of a disastrous ‘no deal’ Brexit – which Theresa May is refusing to take off the table – the loss increases to £800 per year. There is now a very real risk of that ‘no deal’ scenario, which would have catastrophic consequences for people in Scotland and across the UK. The Prime Minister has lost control of her own MPs, and the clock is ticking on negotiations with the European Union.
Like you, I campaigned for a Remain vote and I continue to firmly believe that the best option for the UK is to remain a member state of the EU. I would like to thank you for the role you played during the EU referendum campaign, exposing the lies from individuals in your own party such as Boris Johnson. We both know that the SNP privately hoped for a Leave result across the UK. Unfortunately, since the EU referendum, the Tory Party has allowed the SNP’s grievance agenda to thrive. We both strongly oppose Scottish independence, and therefore I am increasingly concerned about your party’s cavalier attitude towards the Union.
There is no such thing as a good Brexit for workers in Scotland or the UK. The least-worst option for the economy is permanent UK membership of the European Single Market and the Customs Union. This is the only way to save hundreds of jobs in the city we both represent. In 2016, you said: “I want to stay in the Single Market … even if a consequence of that is maintaining free movement of labour.” I am therefore deeply disappointed that you have subsequently accepted the Prime Minister’s plan to leave the Single Market. The people of Edinburgh Central, who voted overwhelmingly for Remain, did not anticipate you would U-turn on such an important issue.
I was, however, very encouraged when earlier this year you said you still oppose a ‘no deal’ Brexit scenario. Could you confirm that you continue to hold this view? If you are serious about stopping a hard Brexit, and standing up for the people of Edinburgh, I hope you will instruct all Scottish Conservative MPs in the House of Commons to join with MPs from all parties who are fighting to prevent Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg inflicting this on our country. You promised in 2017 that your MPs would stand up for Scotland’s interests. Failure to do so on the biggest issue facing our country will confirm that Scottish Tory MPs are simply lobby fodder for a failing Prime Minister.
In my own party I will continue to fight for Single Market and Customs Union membership, but it is clear that Parliament is deeply split on this subject. I believe this decision is too big for 650 MPs to make alone. That is why I am supporting a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal, which should include the option to remain in the EU. Nearly 250,000 people have signed the petition for a People’s Vote, and it has the support of politicians from your own party, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens.
I am writing to you to urge you to publicly support the campaign for a People’s Vote, joining pro-EU organisations such as Open Britain, the European Movement in Scotland, and Best for Britain. As leader of the Scottish Conservatives with a UK-wide profile your support would have a significant impact and could be pivotal in securing a vote on the Brexit deal. This is now the only way we can stop a hard Brexit, which you promised voters you would oppose. The outcome of the Brexit negotiations will affect Edinburgh, Scotland and the UK for generations to come.
Because this is so important for our city’s future and our country’s future, I hope you will join the campaign for a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal.
MP for Edinburgh South