Alyn Smith, SNP MEP and member of the EU LGBTI intergroup begged European colleagues not to “let Scotland down”, during an emergency debate on BREXIT.
Scotland overwhelmingly voted to stay in the EU, 62% to 38%, compared with 52% to 48% in the UK overall.
Smith has today addressed the European Parliament making clear Scotland’s desire to continue our membership of the EU – and received an unprecedented standing ovation from MEPs.
Addressing the meeting of the European Parliament, Smith said:
“I represent Scotland within this house and where I’m proudly Scottish, I’m also proudly European.
“I want my country to be internationalist, cooperative, ecological, fair, European – and the people of Scotland along with the people of Northern Ireland and the people of London and lots and lots of people in Wales and England also voted to remain within our family of nations. I demand that that status and that esprit européen be respected.
“Colleagues, there are a lot of things to be negotiated and we will need cool heads and warm hearts, but please remember this: Scotland did not let you down. Please, I beg you, cher colleagues, do not let Scotland down now.”
Watch Smith give the speech here:
Earlier in the EU Parliament’s debate, UKIP’s leader Nigel Farage said that “little people” had rejected “big politics” from the EU in order to get “their country back”.
He said: “When I came here 17 years ago and said I wanted to lead a campaign to get Britain to leave the European Union, you all laughed at me. Well, I have to say, you’re not laughing now are you?”
The EU has initiated and directly responsible for many LGBTI equality and human rights legal protections that have been introduced to the UK. For example, British gender reassignment and sexual orientation equality laws were originally introduced as requirements of EU law. These in turn were enshrined and further developed in the Equality Act which is not a devolved law.
In addition, the UK is part of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) whose fundamentals are built into the UK Human Rights Act, and also into the Scotland Act, which is the constitution of the Scottish Government and Parliament.
The current Conservative government wants to scrap or weaken ECHR and amend the Human Rights Act into a new British Bill of Rights and Responsibilities that would weaken human rights, and LGBTI rights in particular.
The Scottish government opposes unilateral withdrawal of the Scotland from the EU as a part of BREXIT, and warned it could veto such a move or seek a second independence referendum if this is not respected. It also said it would not agree to the scrapping ECHR directives or laws that affect Scotland.