With only a few months left until Scotland votes in a referendum on independence, Stafford’s MP, Jeremy Lefroy, recently laid out why he believes that Scotland would be better staying within the United Kingdom. He made his comments during a debate in the Commons on Scotland’s place in the UK.
Jeremy’s speech with interventions is as follows.
Jeremy Lefroy (Stafford, Conservative)
It is a pleasure to follow Gemma Doyle.
I speak in this debate both as a representative of my constituents in Stafford and as a proud citizen of the United Kingdom who, as my hon. Friend Rory Stewart so eloquently put it, cares deeply—indeed, loves—the kingdom and its constituent nations of Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Together with the vast majority of my constituents—if a poll we took at a recent meeting and many conversations I have had with them are anything to go by—I wish Scotland to remain part of the United Kingdom.
Somehow there is a notion that people in the rest of the UK are not concerned about this decision, but that certainly does not accord with my experience. They do care: it is just that, quite rightly, they respect the right of the Scottish people to make up their own minds in this most important decision. My hon. Friend Sir Gerald Howarth said that as the United Kingdom we stood united against fascism. We stood together for freedom and against tyranny during the cold war, and today we work together in tackling poverty and its causes around the world. It is not for nothing that the historic agreement about tackling poverty was signed in 2005 at Gleneagles in Scotland.
Angus MacNeil (Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Scottish National Party)
The hon. Gentleman makes an interesting point about the nations that stood together under the allied banner during the second world war. It is important to remember that there were about 40 nations under that allied banner. I am particularly thinking of Norway, with the likes of Joachim Rønneberg, the Telemark hero, who made sure that Hitler did not get heavy water, and so prevented the flattening of this city. It was not just about one nation, but about the allied umbrella, and we should thank all the allies.
Jeremy Lefroy (Stafford, Conservative)
I thank the hon. Gentleman for saying that, and he is absolutely right. We must remember all the nations that worked together, but we stood together as the United Kingdom, together with those nations. As a United Kingdom, we now have a very strong voice in the world through the G8 and our seats on the United Nations Security Council and the executive boards of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and other organisations. That voice is vital both for our own interests but, even more importantly, for those of the citizens of the world.
To be a little personal for a moment, my late father-in-law, Donald MacKay from Caithness, is just one important but personal example of the fundamental contribution made by Scots across the ages to our United Kingdom. He worked on radar for the Royal Navy in Haslemere during the war alongside my father—he, completely coincidentally, was there at the same time—and so many others from across the UK and, as Mr MacNeil said, from other nations, and therefore played his role in protecting our vital supply lifelines in the Atlantic and elsewhere. That is just another example of the intellectual seriousness, which was referred to my hon. Friend the Member for Penrith and The Border, that Scotland and Scots so often bring to our deliberations and work in the United Kingdom.
As Anas Sarwar said, we are part of one family in the UK. Like any family, we have our squabbles, but we also stand up for each other in difficult times, shoulder to shoulder. I and, I believe, millions of others in England and, indeed, in other parts of the United Kingdom care deeply about Scotland remaining in the UK. We have done so much together; let us continue to do so.