The European Parliament has today (Wednesday) given its consent to the Withdrawal Agreement, on the same day as SNP MEPs Aileen McLeod, Christian Allard, and Heather Anderson launched the European Friends of Scotland cross-party group.
This means that the UK will be leaving the EU on Friday with the deal negotiated by current Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and allows a transition period to run until 31st December 2020, during which the UK will continue to follow the existing EU rules while negotiating a new trading agreement.
Aileen McLeod, who voted against the Withdrawal Agreement, used her final speech to reiterate Scotland’s commitment to protecting citizens’ rights and called on the European Parliament to welcome an independent Scotland in the spirit of solidarity, saying:
“The people of Scotland voted to Remain in the EU, and we have done everything we can to stop brexit. Scotland elected a majority of pro-Remain MEPs last year, sent a majority of SNP politicians to Westminster last month, and has consistently voted against brexit. Our Scottish Parliament has refused to consent to the brexit deal. But the UK Government has ensured that we will be leaving on Friday anyway.
“It is not over.
“I have been doing everything I can to keep the channels of communication open for an independent Scotland’s entry into the EU, including organising the establishment of a European Friends of Scotland group of cross-party MEPs. Scotland is a strongly European nation, and will remain so.
“Being a member of Europe’s Parliament has been one of the greatest honours of my life, and we have friends and allies within the Parliament and across the EU. They are heartbroken we are leaving.
“But I give you my word, Scotland will continue to protect the interests of EU citizens who have made Scotland their home. The UK may be leaving the EU, but Scotland is not abandoning you.
“I look forward to an independent Scotland rejoining the EU in the near future, playing a positive role and promoting Europe’s values, international solidarity and co-operation as an equal partner.
“When the moment comes for Scotland to rejoin the EU then I hope the European Parliament will welcome us in that same spirit of European solidarity and will leave a light on for Scotland in the meantime”.
The European Parliament passed the Agreement by 621 votes to 49 with 13 abstentions.
Aileen's speech is available to view here and the text is as follows:
“As a Scottish MEP I will be voting against the Withdrawal Agreement as the majority of my country has mandated me to do.
“The people of Scotland have consistently voted against Brexit. Scotland’s Parliament has refused to give its consent to this Brexit deal. The tragedy for Scotland is that on Friday Scotland will be dragged out of the EU against the democratic wishes of our people.
“Scotland is a European nation and I look forward to an independent Scotland rejoining the EU - and we will, soon - playing a positive role and promoting Europe’s values, international solidarity and co-operation as an equal partner.
“I am proud to have been a member of this Parliament of Europe’s citizens. I give you my word that Scotland’s Government will continue to protect the interests of all EU citizens who have chosen to make Scotland their home and have contributed to our society in so many important ways.
“When the moment comes for Scotland to rejoin the EU I hope this Parliament will welcome us in that same spirit of European solidarity and in the meantime, I hope very much that you will leave a light on for Scotland.”