SNP MP JOANNA Cherry has argued that a temporary cross-party Government is needed to break the Brexit deadlock.

Speaking at The Convention, an event calling for a People’s Vote in London’s Emmanuelle Centre, she argued that as the third party in Westminster, the SNP must be part of any future temporary Government formed to halt Brexit and organise a People’s Vote.

Doing so will ensure Scotland’s interests are protected and that the Scottish Parliament is given the means to hold a second independence referendum, Cherry said.

Here's her speech on a tale of two unions in full.


Scotland voted to remain by an overwhelming majority of 62%. Polls now show support is closer to 70% for Remain all across Scotland.

The SNP was the first major mass membership party to support a second EU referendum vote and its pleasing to see polls moving towards remain across UK.

We still want independence for Scotland but we believe Scotland's interests are best served by a relatively stable England, Ireland and Wales – not a society & economy in total meltdown.

We are happy to be in a union with England but we want it to be a union of equals – the EU.

So what we want is to be an equal partner with England in the EU not an unequal partner in the UK.

In Scotland, a second referendum is also supported by the Greens and LibDems and many Scottish Labour politicians. It is important to appreciate that the Tory revival in Scotland has been much exaggerated. They do not speak for the majority of Scottish voters.

Scotland is indeed a very different country. The majority of Scots do not hold the same concerns about sovereignty and immigration as held elsewhere in these islands, nor the same animus towards EU, why?

Scotland’s history a lot to do with it but also devolution austerity policies created a great deal of poverty across the UK. But Scotland has to an extent been protected from that because we have had left-of-centre devolved governments since 1999.

Throughout the austerity years, an SNP government has tried to protect Scotland from worst excesses of austerity.

More money invested in NHS for example – it’s a matter of record Scotland has the best-performing NHS in the UK. We also have considerable investment in social housing, ground breaking homelessness legislation, security of tenure re-introduced in private rented sector.

There have also been major successful infrastructure projects such as the Queensferry Crossing.

But I notice as I travel around provincial England that the infrastructure is not in as good condition as it is in Scotland. Little or no social housing has been built here for years. Many working-class people in England have been led to believe that the cause of their woes, such as the fact that they cannot get a house or a well-paid job — they can get a job, but not a properly paid job — is the immigrants, when it is the fault of this toxic Conservative government.

Blaming EU rather than Westminster devolution has protected Scotland to an extent from full consequences of post-Thatcherite economics and austerity policies but the events of the last 2 years show it can’t protect us from Brexit.

Speaking as someone who represents a Scottish constituency and as someone of Irish parentage, I see the bigger picture of the whole Brexit process as a tale of two Unions: the Union that is the United Kingdom and the Union that is the European Union.

There are extremely stark differences between the ways in which the members of those Unions treat one another.

So far as Ireland, north and south, is concerned, British politicians largely overlooked the threat that Brexit posed to the Good Friday agreement until after the referendum, and even then, many of them — particularly on the Conservative benches — were and still are unable to accept the reality of the legal obligations that the United Kingdom undertook in that agreement.

That old anti-Irish xenophobia that people like my mother remember so well raised its head again, even to the extent of some on the Conservative benches talking about the Irish tail-wagging the British dog, and other such insulting metaphors.

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However, because the EU27 got behind the Irish Government’s legitimate concerns, they became central to the Brexit process.

DUP and Conservative politicians — not all of them, but some — waited in vain for the EU27 to crack and throw Ireland under the bus. That did not happen, and it is not going to happen.

I was at an event recently where the distinguished professor of modern history at University College Dublin, Mary Daly, remarked that the current situation at Westminster had uncanny echoes of 100 years ago when the electric politics of Ulster dominated.

The truth is that the problems that arose as a result of the partition of Ireland have come back to haunt the UK as a result of the Brexit process.

NI voted to remain. But this is often forgotten because the DUP hold the balance of power at Westminster but don’t represent the majority view of NI on Brexit. However, to an extent NI concerns have dominated Brexit process.

Meanwhile, in Scotland, the people voted to remain in the EU by an even more substantial margin than that of Northern Ireland.

Despite that, the legitimate concerns of Scottish Government and the Scottish Parliament have been wholly ignored by Westminster.

We can only look on with envy as the concerns of the Irish Government are placed centre stage in Brussels while Scotland is ignored or derided at Westminster.

The National:

SNP MPs were prompted to walk out of Westminster by a farcical debate of the EU Withdrawal Bill

Let us look at what has happened to Scotland in the past two years:

• The Scottish Government put forward the idea for a differentiated deal or a compromise for the whole of the United Kingdom at an early stage, but that was completely ignored.

• The UK Government cut the Scottish Government out of the Brexit negotiations completely.

• The Scottish Parliament voted — with the cross-party support of everyone apart from the Tories and one LibDem — to withhold consent to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, but that, too, was ignored.

• When the Scottish Parliament tried to pass its own Legal Continuity Bill, dealing with consequences of Brexit for devolution, it was challenged by the British Government in the UK Supreme Court, and while the hearing of the case was pending before the court, in the House of Lords the Tories retrospectively changed the law to make large parts of the Bill ultra vires.

• When amendments to the Withdrawal Bill came back from the House of Lords to the House of Commons, Scottish MPs got 19 minutes to debate the implications of those amendments, with all of the time being taken up by the Government Minister. That’s what prompted the SNP walkout.

• Scotland is not mentioned in the Withdrawal Agreement or the Political Declaration, while little Gibraltar — important though it is — was afforded advance sight of the agreement. The Scottish Government saw it only when the rest of us did.

So the Brexit process has told Scottish voters a lot about the reality of devolution.

It has confirmed, if it were ever in doubt, that power devolved is power retained, and that the United Kingdom is not the Union of equals that we were told it was during indyref 2014 but a unitary state where devolved power is taken back to Westminster when convenient and where no-one but the Conservative party gets a say on major decisions over trade and foreign policy, despite the fact that the majority of Scots vote for parties other than the Tories.

The distinguished former Taoiseach of the Republic of Ireland, John Bruton, has pointed out that Scotland’s marginalisation within the United Kingdom would not happen in the European Union, and that if the European Union were taking a decision as drastic as Brexit and it had only four nations in it, all four nations would need to agree. In the UK, however, it does not matter what Scotland and Northern Ireland say. They can always be overridden by the English vote. That is not an anti-English comment; it is a comment on the constitution of the United Kingdom.

If Scotland were a member state of the EU, even though we are a country of only 5.5 million people, we would have the same veto as Ireland over such a major decision, in the same way that the big countries have.

READ MORE: Jeremy Corbyn says a Labour government ‘will carry out Brexit’

There is still a little bit of hope for Scotland, and it comes from the cross-party working that we have seen in the Scottish Parliament and this week at Westminster.

It is exemplified by the group of politicians, of which I am proud to have been a member, who took the article 50 case to the Court of Justice of the European Union and established that art 50 can be unilaterally revoked and that the UK can stay in the EU on the same terms and conditions as we currently enjoy.

Scottish politicians and the Scottish courts have thrown Westminster a lifeline that would enable it to get out of the madness of Brexit.

To achieve that, we will have to work cross-party at Westminster.

I believe that, ultimately, what may be required is a temporary cross-party UK Government to seek an extension of article 50, to hold a second EU referendum and then revoke art 50, before holding a General Election.

This is being talked about by many commentators, including influential commentators in Scotland such as Dr Kirsty Hughes of the Scottish Centre for European Relations and Lesley Riddoch the pro-independence journalist who is speaking later today.

For the SNP to take their rightful place in that Government as the third party at Westminster and also the Government of Scotland, two things would have to be recognised.

Firstly, the need to take Scotland’s interests on board and put them centre stage on an equal footing with England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Secondly, it would need to be acknowledged that the Brexit process has created a mandate for a second independence referendum and that the Scottish Parliament should be given the means to hold a legitimate constitutional second independence referendum when the Scottish Parliament judges the time is right.

The SNP MPs votes at Westminster will be vital. We have already been a pivotal part of the cross-party working that has led to defeats of the current Tory government.

We have shown we can work in the interests of all nations of these islands. However, Scotland must be promoted from the back seat to the front seat of British politics.

I am quite sure if there is a second vote Scotland will vote to remain, I really hope England will too but if it does not there will have to be a second indyref in Scotland. The precedent of a second vote when circumstances change will have been set.

This time, we know that we Scotland have a far more sympathetic ear in Europe, even from the Spanish, who were supposedly great enemies of Scottish independence in the EU. Their foreign minister said recently that if Scotland secedes from the UK constitutionally, he will not veto Scotland’s membership of the European Union.

However, even if the United Kingdom takes the escape route of revocation of Article 50, the escape route thrown to it by Scottish politicians, the Brexit process has shown that the United Kingdom in its present form is not a Union in which Scotland can continue to function properly.

We have seen writ large during this process the difference between what it means to be a member of the United Kingdom and a member of the European Union.

So regardless of what happens with Brexit, which I very much hope is reversed for the whole of the United Kingdom, I hope that the Scots will soon take the opportunity to say that Scotland’s position in the UK Union is not tolerable. We want to take our seat at the top table in the European Union, where I very much hope we will eventually be an equal partner with England, because I hope England also stays in the EU.