Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus MacNeil voted to keep Britain in the EU Single Market in a vote on the Queen’s Speech in Parliament on Thursday which saw disunity and incoherent strategy from both the Tories and Labour.
Together with his SNP colleagues, Mr MacNeil voted in favour of an amendment to the Queen’s Speech which would see the UK retain crucial Single Market and Customs Union membership, rather than an inferior set up with just access to the market.
Membership of the Single Market is crucial to Na h-Eileanan an Iar for export products from the food and drink industries including fishing and agriculture. Without membership industries could face hefty tariffs on exports.
The amendment was put forward by Labour MP Chuka Umunna who led the rebellion of 49 Labour MPs in defiance of their Leader Jeremy Corbyn who ordered his MPs to abstain.
Mr MacNeil said: “Remaining part of the Single Market is so important to Na h-Eileanan an Iar and as we now career down a path towards a hard Brexit deal, it is more important than ever that there is effective opposition to the Tories.
“Labour have showed themselves to be inconsistent and lacking unity on this issue and the Tories are set on a hard Brexit whatever the cost. Only the SNP have a clear, consistent strategy.
“Our focus is firmly on standing up for Scotland’s interests in Brexit talks and striving for a retention of that crucial place in the Single Market.
“It is important for the islands’ economy to ensure industries are not damaged by a deal struck by the Tories. This is imperative in efforts to address issues such as depopulation through job creation and give our islands the best possible chance going forward.”
The amendment was eventually defeated and the Government’s motion was passed but with further concessions given the Tories precarious handle of power.