VoteClimate: Scotland: General Election and Constitutional Future - 17th March 2021

Scotland: General Election and Constitutional Future - 17th March 2021

Here are the climate-related sections of speeches by MPs during the Commons debate Scotland: General Election and Constitutional Future.

Full text: https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2021-03-17/debates/88689FFD-075C-4FB0-83DA-E554F345F0D9/ScotlandGeneralElectionAndConstitutionalFuture

13:20 David Duguid (Conservative)

Furthermore, the Prime Minister recently set out his ambitious 10-point plan for a green industrial revolution —an innovative and ambitious programme of job creation that will support levelling up and up to 250,000 jobs. The plan will mobilise £12 billion of UK Government investment across green energy, nature and innovation technologies across the country in areas such as carbon capture, utilisation and storage, hydrogen and offshore wind. I personally expect Scotland to benefit hugely from this, becoming a global centre of excellence for energy transition.

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13:26 Ian Murray (Labour)

We could have been having a debate about COP26 and climate change, but no.

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14:09 Hilary Benn (Labour)

Both arguments create bitter division. Opinion in Scotland is very divided on independence; be wary of the untold consequences of small margins and do not make assumptions. Opinion polls move, but there is only one true indicator of the settled will of the Scottish people, and that is the outcome of the 2014 referendum. I do not decry anyone’s right to continue to argue their cause in the face of that settled will, but I do question the wisdom of doing so, especially now. Together, we face unprecedented challenges—a pandemic, an economic crisis, the threat of dangerous climate change—but I believe that we can and will best respond to them not through separation, but as one country, one Union, one United Kingdom.

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14:41 Wendy Chamberlain (Liberal Democrat)

Across the two debates and the two motions, the SNP has totally failed to engage with the issue that people across the UK and the world have lived with, grieved over and endured over the past year. The reality facing millions of ordinary Scots is the recovery from the pandemic. As others have said, SNP Members could have used this time to discuss the issues that matter: jobs, the economy, climate change, and education. When the SNP wants to consider elections to the Scottish Parliament, as they do in the motion, it seems that the only thing in which it is interested is the constitution. Today, a Survation poll shows that independence is one of three top priorities for only 8% of Scots. The pandemic was not deemed important enough to be mentioned in the motion. I am afraid that, after 14 years in power in Scotland, the SNP is consumed by internal problems and is out of touch.

I will be clear. Now is the time to put recovery first—that is what Scottish Liberal Democrats want. We want investment in green jobs, high-quality education, good mental health services, and measures to tackle the climate emergency. If the SNP had focused on those things during its 14 years in power, how much better life would be for people across Scotland. Over the past year, everyone in the House has dealt with many pieces of casework from constituents struggling through the pandemic and lockdown, and from people who have tragically lost loved ones. They want our focus over the next few years, as we approach the May elections, to be on how we recover. The Scottish Fiscal Commission estimates that the Scottish economy will not recover to pre-pandemic levels until the beginning of 2024—almost two years later than the UK a whole. When does the pandemic really end? If we do not focus on recovery now, there is a risk that the 2020s will become a decade of stagnation in Scotland. After 14 years of SNP rule, we have seen so much opportunity wasted. Let us put recovery first.

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15:55 Iain Stewart (Conservative)

I am sure it will be of great comfort to people worrying about what education their child has missed during the pandemic or the security of their job that the separatists are looking for ever fresher opportunities to pit family against family and community against community in yet another divisive referendum. Glasgow will be hosting COP26 later this year, and the eyes of the world will be on us. We will be showing our global leadership on climate change. What message would it send to the world if Scotland were looking inward and debating constitutional matters that have been settled many years ago?

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