Scotland will be better placed facing up to the challenges of the EU referendum result as part of the UK, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has said.
In a speech to the Scottish Parliament today, she sought to amend a Scottish Government motion on Holyrood’s response to Britain voting to leave the EU.
While there was much the Scottish Conservatives could agree on with the SNP motion, Ruth said, there were also aspects the party wanted to change.
The amendment sought to recognise the two million people who voted No in the independence referendum in 2014.
And it outlined a preference for the Scottish Government to negotiate with Europe as part of the UK with devolved administrations, rather than forging its own path.
Ruth expressed her own regret at the result, but stated the SNP’s immediate threat of another referendum on independence was not what people wanted.
She pointed out Scotland still exports four times as much to the rest of the UK than to EU countries, and that “you do not dampen the shock waves caused by one referendum by lighting the fuse for another”.
Ruth was responding to an emergency debate on the EU as leader of the opposition in Holyrood.
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said:
“Our capacity to overcome these challenges as Scots, and as members of the United Kingdom, has not diminished one bit.
“The challenges are great indeed. They are complex, and there are questions upon questions that have not yet been formulated, never mind answered.
“And first and foremost, we need to say to people from across the European Union that you are welcome, you are wanted. Your contribution is recognised and this is your home.
“Let’s say it loud and clear – we don’t just need your labour, we want your values, your brains, your culture. You.
“However, I cannot ignore the fact that within hours of the vote becoming clear on Friday morning, the Scottish Government had pushed the question of independence front and centre.
“In the days since the result last week, it feels to many people across Scotland that the SNP is talking about nothing but independence.
“You do not dampen the shock waves caused by one referendum by lighting the fuse for another.
“Nor by saying that the economic impact of leaving one union means you should sever ties with a greater union whose value in trade eclipses it many times over.
“Referendums are not just bruising, they can be wounding.
“From now on, I hope we still find time to learn the right lessons – not the wrong ones – to emerge as a stronger society, a better nation, and a still United Kingdom.”