Rachael Hamilton is Conservative MSP for Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire


Last week saw the UK and European Commission agree the political declaration – setting out a framework for our future relationship outside of the EU.

This was a momentous achievement for the Prime Minister Theresa May who has fought long and hard for a deal in the best interests of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland. She has negotiated well for our country and she deserves applause for her tireless efforts.

As we know, the Brexit deal will end the free movement of people, once and for all, with the introduction of a new skills-based immigration system. We will take back full control of our money that we will be able to spend on our priorities such as the NHS. Moreover, the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in the UK will end, meaning we will make our own laws in Westminster and Holyrood. The deal ensures our farmers and fishermen leave the CAP and CFP, both highly flawed policies, which have held back rural areas such as the Borders.

Importantly, we will be able to strike trade deals with other countries around the world. Deals can be negotiated and ratified during the implementation period and put in place straight afterwards. We will be an independent voice for free trade on the global stage, speaking for ourselves at the World Trade Organisation, for the first time in decades.

Hats off to Theresa May, who has fended off criticism from all parties, who seek to undo the good progress that has been made to date on reaching an agreement.

North of the Border, we see Nicola Sturgeon poised to hold another independence referendum. It is the usual hypocrisy from the SNP; they say a ‘no deal’ scenario is unacceptable, I agree, it would be damaging, yet when Theresa May achieves a withdrawal agreement, the old grievance politics of the past come to the forefront again. Sturgeon’s opportunistic approach to politics is damaging to Scotland, and she will use any chance to pursue her destructive nationalist agenda.

The SNP’s rhetoric surrounding Northern Ireland has been unsavoury. Sturgeon believes she can exploit Northern Ireland’s unique position and draw direct comparison with Scotland. Simply put, Scotland does not share a land border with an EU member state, nor has Scotland had a complex and fragile political past. She fails to understand these basic principles.

We need to see all politicians getting behind the Prime Minister and her deal, to ensure a smooth orderly Brexit into a transition period that will help people adjust. The SNP want a deal, they need to vote for it. If not, we risk crashing out the EU, with no deal and the consequences that brings.