An independent Scotland would ‘act as a bridge between Brussels and London’

An independent Scotland and EU member state would “act as a bridge between Brussels and London, helping rebuild the shattered relationship”, an SNP MP has said.

The SNP’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman Stephen Gethins said the UK union had “no automatic right to existence” as he branded Brexit an “almighty mess”.

He said Britain’s place in the world “has rarely been more diminished than it has been by this Government today”.

The MP North East Fife blasted the “continuing failure of those who sold a Brexit myth and have absolutely no idea how to deliver it”.

Speaking during the Queen’s Speech debate in the Commons, Mr Gethins said: “The UK union has no automatic right to existence and it is increasingly clear that the best thing for everyone in the UK is that we build a real partnership of equals and that of course is only achievable with independence as Brexit has underlined.

“Brexit helps nobody and it’s been particularly harmful for our relationships with our closest neighbours.

“But for some time and today the First Minister’s doing the same thing in Aberdeen, we can argue that Scotland can help.

“As a member state in our own right, Scotland will act as a bridge between Brussels and London, helping rebuild the shattered relationship.”

Mr Gethins warned the “broader mess of Brexit is seen more globally where the UK has become more and more isolated at a time it needs to work with its international partners”.

He said: “This is a Government that models itself and its policy on (US president) Trump’s White House.

“That’s not the international positioning the UK Government should be looking at, that is not the leadership that anybody should be looking at.”

He added: “Independence is normal, member status of the EU is normal, Brexit isolationism is not normal.

“So leaving the EU will make us poorer, more decentralised, less fair and isolated from our closest partners.”

Proposals in the Queen’s Speech to end freedom of movement were “damaging and regressive”, he added.

Mr Gethins said: “It’s traditional in democracy to set out your plans before the vote rather than four years later scrabbling about days before you’re due to leave seeking a plan.”

Independent Steve Brine (Winchester) asked whether the SNP would want to keep the pound.

Intervening, SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said: “Let me give an absolute cast iron commitment that when the SNP brings forward its plans for independence as we will very shortly, we will set out in exact detail the kind of country that we want.

“And have an open discussion with friends and opponents as to what kind of society that we want to live in.

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