On the first anniversary of the Scottish National Party’s landslide victory in Scotland at the 2015 General Election – including Owen Thompson’s election in Midlothian – SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson has said that the party has been the only effective opposition to the Tory government and the only party consistently championing Scotland’s interests in the UK parliament.
Marking the strong impact made and achievements secured by the party’s MPs since they arrived at Westminster a year ago this week, Angus Robertson MP has pledged that the SNP will continue to be a force for equality, social justice, and progressive change – standing up for Scotland and standing by people across the UK against damaging Tory policies.
Commenting, Angus Robertson MP said:
“One year ago people across the country voted for the SNP and put their trust in us to stand up for Scotland at Westminster, to stand by our friends across the UK against Tory austerity, and to be a strong force for equality, social justice and progressive change.
“We have kept our word and delivered – making a lasting impact and providing the only consistent and effective opposition to the damaging policies of this arrogant Tory government.
“When the Labour Party couldn’t even decide whether it was for or against George Osborne’s endless austerity and draconian welfare cuts it was the SNP that provided the clear, consistent and principled opposition – calling for a modest 0.5% increase in spending to protect services and the vulnerable while bringing down the deficit at a sensible rate, voting against the economically illiterate Tory fiscal charter, and leading the opposition to the deep cuts to tax credits and to disabled people’s Personal Independence Payments (PIPs), both of which the Chancellor was then forced to abandon.
“When the Scotland Bill was going through Westminster it was the SNP who forced the UK government to give Scotland more powers and called out Tory plans to cut £7billion from Scotland’s budget, putting on the pressure needed to ensure that their plans failed and Scotland was not a single penny worse off.
“At the Budget it was the SNP who secured crucial concessions from the government to support Scotland’s economy, including a freeze on fuel duty, a freeze on Whisky duty, and long-overdue support for the oil and gas sector. It was the SNP that started and won the parliamentary campaign to scrap the tampon tax, and it was the SNP who called the UK government to task for their shameful plans to force women who had conceived a third child as the result of rape to provide proof they had been raped or face their tax credits getting cut.
“On foreign policy, it was the SNP that first raised the issue of the refugee crisis at PMQs last year, and when David Cameron refused to accept our fair share of vulnerable child refugees it was the SNP that pursued the issue week after week, putting him on the spot and shaming him into a public u-turn last week.
“It was the SNP that provided the clear and unified opposition to the UK government’s ill-judged decision to bomb Syria, and that put pressure on David Cameron to provide details of UK forces in Libya. More broadly we have pushed the UK government to develop an ethical foreign policy – raising the issue of UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia, which have been used in the war in Yemen.
“On democracy and social rights, it has been SNP MPs that have kept up the pressure on the UK government to protect our Human Rights Act and to remain in the ECHR, and it has been the SNP that have consistently pushed the UK government to abolish the unelected and undemocratic House of Lords, and to reform the electoral system.
“In the coming months we face the EU referendum, and the vote to renew Trident. We are the only party to remain united on these issues. We are campaigning positively for the UK to remain in the EU, and we are united in opposing the waste of billions of pounds on Trident nuclear weapons – while other parties fail to find a unified position on either.
“The SNP is the only party at Westminster with a clear vision and a strong voice. That is why – in the year ahead we will be the only party providing an effective force for progressive values and change in the UK Parliament.”
[9 May 2015 photo courtesy Scottish National Party (SNP) Flickr account]