For immediate release: Wednesday 1 February 2017

Attention: News desks and Political Correspondents

ALEX SALMOND ISSUES CROSS PARTY CALL TO BACK THE SNP’S AMENDMENT TO HALT UK GOVERNMENT'S BULLDOZED BREXIT BILL

SNP WELCOME UK GOVERNMENT MOVE TO PUBLISH WHITE PAPER FOLLOWING SNP PRESSURE

Alex Salmond MP has issued a call to parties across the House of Commons to back the SNP’s selected reasoned amendment to halt the UK government’s attempt to “railroad” their EU Bill through Parliament. 

The Scottish National Party also welcomed the UK government’s move to finally publish a White Paper before committee stage following continued pressure from the party and backed by Labour MPs.

The call to MPs across the House to back the SNP reasoned amendment follows Tory MP Ken Clarke's speech in the Chamber saying he will be voting against his party's Bill and instead back the reasoned amendment.

The SNP’s amendment - backed by the Greens, Plaid Cymru and SDLP - was selected as the only challenge to the UK government’s EU Bill to trigger Article 50.

The amendment has been backed by Conservative MP Ken Clarke in his opening speech in the Chamber and Alex Salmond MP has urged those on the opposition benches and government benches to back the amendment to bring the UK government "back to reality".

The reasoned amendment, set to be voted on in the Chamber tomorrow evening, calls on the House to decline a Second Reading to the UK government’s EU bill to trigger Article 50 as it has failed to set out provision for effective consultation with the devolved administrations, failed to publish a White Paper, has refused to guarantee the rights of EU nationals in the UK and has left unanswered the implications on key policy areas including - withdrawing from the Single Market.

Alex Salmond MP, the SNP’s International Affairs spokesperson, commented:

“We have had seven months of shameful silence and suddenly we witness a mad rush by the UK government to railroad through this Parliament the very flimsy Bill the Prime Minister fought in the courts to avoid being brought here. We now have the opportunity to bring this government back to reality. 
“The move by the UK government to finally publish a White Paper is a welcome step following the continued and consistent pressure by the SNP on the government. It is, however, worrying that it took this long for Theresa May to meet the most basic of asks following the referendum.
“Parliamentarians and the public should not be in the position of finally having confirmation of a White Paper at the very same time that MPs are expected to vote on the triggering of Article 50. That is not just a dismissal of democracy in this Parliament, it is a reflection of this Tory government and its plan to blindly take the UK to the brink.
“It is time for the opposition parties to live up to their title and back the SNP’s reasoned amendment to hold this government to account for failing to outline a single ounce of detail and instead opting to bulldoze this Bill through Parliament. A Bill without a White Paper, without a policy position, without guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens and without a clue.
“I welcome Ken Clarke’s courage to stand up and condemn the direction this Prime Minister is taking the country, and I call on MPs, regardless of their party, to also display that courage. And I hope that those across the House who want to ‘take back control’ will be joining us in the lobby to vote for the SNP’s amendment.”

ENDS

Notes for editors

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