The Sewel Convention Debate took place in the House of Commons, London on the 18th of June. Ian Blackford, SNP leader had been granted the debate by the Speaker as no Scottish MP had been able to speak during the 15 minutes devoted to Devolution in the EU Withdrawal Bill debate.
The SNP is the third largest party in the House of Commons.
Ian Blackford led the debate which lasted 3 hours. It was difficult to watch – as they all are in Westminster – due to the constant noise of other MPs when one of them is speaking.
You can watch it here starting at 18:32:12 – Sewel Convention Debate
He accused the Tory Government of an attack on devolution.
“The Scottish Parliament that many fought so long and hard to establish is being emasculated by an anti-Scottish Tory Government here in London.“
He said the Secretary of State had downgraded Scotland from a nation to a region when he had said that Scotland was not a partner in the UK but a part of the UK.
He reminded the House that the Scottish People had voted overwhelmingly for the Scottish Parliament.
” Our Parliament in Scotland, which is supposed to be permanent, can see its powers being changed on a whim by Westminster” he said.
“Today, we see the Scottish Conservatives behaving exactly as they did in the past, and I make this prediction: they will pay the price again, because they have stabbed the Scottish Parliament and the people of Scotland in the back by taking these powers back.”
Having been goaded by Ian Blackford, David Mundell, Secretary of State for Scotland made his one and only contribution to the debate accusing the SNP leader of personal attacks and that his [Blackford’s] performance would not impress Scotland.
And that was the last we heard from David Mundell who left it up to David Liddington, MP for Aylesbury and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster to speak for his Office.
The Scottish Tory MPs were completely isolated in the debate, as they are in the Scottish Parliament, with Labour, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and SNP MPs all ranged against them.
The Tories reiterated their claim that Scotland’s devolved administration would be more powerful than ever before with Brexit and that what was being retained was only for a temporary period. This was a view only held by themselves.
MPs are elected to represent all their constituents and it is to be wondered what the electorate in remain voting areas think of their recently elected representatives being such enthusiastic Brexiteers. It is even more astounding that many of the Tories represent farming and fishing communities where control over those industries will now revert to the UK Government, over which they will have no say.
There were a lot of attacks on the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon. The Tories failed to accept that it was the Scottish Parliament which refused to grant consent to the EU Withdrawal Bill by overwhelmingly voting for the Continuity Bill and stated time and again that it was the Scottish Government doing this for their own political gain.
There was also a complete lack of accuracy about UK wide Frameworks.
What are UK wide Frameworks?
UK wide Frameworks will be shared standards which will be needed once we leave the EU in a few months time. Currently the UK shares standards with the 27 countries of the EU. High food standards and environmental protections which mean our food products are safe – we know what is in them.
These standards will be gone when we leave the EU. The Continuity Bill passed by the Scottish Parliament would retain these high standards until there is an equivalent replacement. There is no disagreement that shared UK Frameworks will be needed, however, the UK Government intends to have the deciding say on what they should be.
This means that if the UK Government wants to have GM crops and a lowering of food standards, they can over rule any decision made in any of the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Currently in Scotland there is a ban on GM crops for sale. That ban will go.
Alistair Jack, Tory MP for Dumfries and Galloway, a part of Scotland famed for its excellence in farming said:
” As we leave the EU and become a global free-trading nation again, common frameworks will ensure that the whole UK is able to benefit from the trade deals that will be signed with countries around the globe.
“Without those frameworks, we could end up with different regulatory systems throughout the UK, which could potentially make it harder for us to sign comprehensive free trade deals.”
And that is basically what it is all about, this power grab. Signing trade deals with Donald Trump’s America where chlorinated chicken and beef pumped with chemicals will flood into our market.
The farmers in Dumfries and Galloway would do well to remember Alistair Jacks words when that happens.
Many MPs called for the Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell, to resign who had made only that one brief inconsequential utterance in response to Ian Blackford.
Lesley Laird, Labour, Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland did speak .
“Let us be in no doubt that we are in this mess because of the UK Government.” she said
And she too asked for David Mundell to resign.
At the conclusion of the debate there was a vote. This was when a bundle of Tory MPs who represent constituencies in England and who had spent their time drinking in the bar watching a football match trooped in.
The question was put (as they say ) “That this House has considered the Sewel Convention.” Ayes 88 Noes 51
And there you have it. No matter what the people of Scotland want, no matter who they elect to represent them in Westminster, it is of no importance for they will always be an irrelevance. When SNP leader Ian Blackford pointed this out the Speaker responded saying
“Nothing disorderly has happened this evening.”
Which of course is quite correct.
At the conclusion of his speech at the start of this debate Ian Blackford quoted the Irish Nationalist leader Charles Stewart Parnell:
“No man has a right to fix the boundary of the march of a nation; no man has a right to say to his country, ‘Thus far shalt thou go and no further.’”
[The UK Government was again defeated in the House of Lords on the EU Withdrawal Bill on 18th of June]
Reporter: Fiona Grahame
“Nothing disorderly has happened this evening.”
That – is being ‘politic’.
It looks like we are heading for it – I’m afraid I have to finally accept that we’re heading for it.
I could say – eat Orkney or eat British – but, if the standards are gone, would that matter?
My lord, who’d be young, today?
Fiona, just wait until they ever try planting GM crops, ‘Roundup’ and ‘fire’ are wonderful cleansing tools!!!
I can’t agree with you about Roundup, Charles – it’s poison – it poisons the land. And Monsanto are poison, too!
I would say, to the public…boycott, and I would say…eat local, eat British, just don’t buy the crap food, but……I believe it to be a horrible fact, that the majority of people simply don’t care. They fill their Tesco trollies, with whatever is cheapest, and whether it’s damaging them, or their children, doesn’t come into their equation when buying food.
Years ago, I had a …discussion…… with someone who said she “couldn’t afford” to buy organic, as she had “a family to feed”. This family consisted of 4 people – Mum, Dad, and two children. Mum and Dad both in full time, reasonably well paid, work, and they, strangely, had a massive telly and two cars!
It’s their business what they spend their money on, but it’s our world, too. I believe it to be laziness and un-thinking behaviour. People simply aren’t prepared to take the time to think about what they’re buying – where it’s from and what’s behind its production.
Including the use of toxic weedkillers!
It is our world too….and the actions of the unthinking, influence the lives of all of us, everywhere.
So, we try to get the Powers That Be to be aware and to make the laws and bring in and maintain the controls and standards on food production, as that’s the only real way we can make a big difference. We also try to get folk to think about it – that’s a harder job, in some ways, and has less effect, overall. The main thing, is the laws and standards to be in place, to protect the population from bad food. The population not giving tuppence about what they eat, or how much of it! then turning to the NHS to deal with the consequences, is a harder problem to deal with.
There – got that off my chest.
Oooch, but you are quite right ‘Round-up’ is a poison and the Monsanto Co are are a bunch of ‘gobshites’. However for all its sins ‘Round-up’ is as far as I’m aware (I’m no gardener or farmer for that matter) it is the only truly effective and permanent treatment for ‘Japanese Knotweed’ for example. My point was however that where these crops were to be planted then environmental volunteers could destroy them or at least make them totally uneconomic to grow – the threat would probably be enough. A bit of unarmed militancy never did any harm.
One other thing if we have these ‘Frankenstein’ ingredients there is a fair chance we’ll never know as the Power Grab will have removed the need for precise labelling on jars and packaging, this must never be allowed to happen. If I want to harm myself from legal poisons at least I know what damage alcohol, tobacco and even prescribed medicines are doing, with companies like Monsanto I and the rest of us will never know.
As to what people spend their money on I agree is up to them but I believe that there is too much of what my mam called keeping-up with the Jones. I’ve often said that a good lengthy period of WW2 rationing would do them a power of good. I was eleven before I tasted a banana and I hated it and it was only years later that I came round to liking them.