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 Full text 
Tuesday, 22 October 2019 - Strasbourg Revised edition

Conclusions of the European Council meeting of 17 and 18 October 2019 (debate)

  Alyn Smith (Verts/ALE). – Madam President, I will also limit my remarks to Brexit, unsurprisingly. President Tusk, from Scotland, I would very warmly thank you and praise you for your conduct in office and for your efforts to keep the door open to us. It has been appreciated in Scotland and it has been appreciated across the UK as well. You’ve been a true friend to the United Kingdom. Thank you.

The last time we met to discuss this, I alleged bad faith on the part of those close to the UK Government – not their front spokespeople or apologists, but their tormentors, people of bad faith who around this UK Government are looking to trash whatever deal you have agreed in good faith. I didn’t expect to be proven right as quickly as I have been. Even overnight we saw very worrying moves that a delegated legislation committee stuffed with Government MPs has approved ending the rights of residents of EU nationals in the UK – self-employed and business owners. EU nationals were told in advance of the referendum that nothing would change. It’s changing now before the text has even been ratified.

So, what to do? You must deal with the interlocutors you’re dealt. I respect that. But I tell you frankly, it may not have escaped your notice but the UK is in chaos right now. Mr Johnson’s Government hangs by a thread and its word cannot be trusted even if there was good faith and an intent to implement it. Also the UK is not Westminster. I would refer you to a letter from the Joint First Ministers of Scotland and of Wales. The Scottish and Welsh Parliaments must also consent to this. We have not consented to this. Let’s be real, colleagues. There is no possible way that Westminster can conclude proper ratification of this deal this week. We should not lend the credibility of this Parliament or the Council to collude in that shabby deception. The only answer is more time. Time is the great healer. An extension has been requested, albeit through gritted teeth by a Prime Minister who is desperate to pretend he hasn’t, but an extension has been requested. Grant it. Grant it now. Grant it for a year, longer. Mr Johnson and his fellow travellers may have wasted the time. We will not. We are trying to find solutions. We need more time to do that.

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