Tory response to Irish position on Brexit based on out-dated imperialistic thinking: Scottish MP

The British government’s ambitions for Britain’s place in the world are based on a "fanciful belief" the UK is entitled to retain an empire and colonies, an SNP MP has said.

Peter Grant, the party’s Europe spokesman, also questioned the response from some on the Tory benches to statements from Irish ministers over Brexit in recent days.

They have repeated warnings that Ireland is "resolute" about blocking a Brexit deal if Britain does not back down over the Irish border.

Mr Grant said: "When I saw the timetable for the Budget debates, I looked at Monday, ’Global Britain’, and I thought ’that’s not going to take very long is it’?

"Because the fact is that even the Government’s own misguided ambitions for Britain’s place in the world are ambitions which I believe are still based on the fanciful belief that somehow we’re entitled to retain an empire, that somehow we’re entitled to retain colonies.

"Rather than simply acknowledging the fact that the world has moved on from the days when any nation could claim the right to colonise any other nation.

"If you look at the response from some of the Conservative benches to statements from the sovereign, independent government of Ireland over the last couple of days, you have to wonder whether they recognise that the ministers of that country have not only the right, but an absolute responsibility to speak in the interests of their citizens."

He also questioned whether Scotland’s view on its place in the world was the same as the UK Government’s.

"When I think of where this Government appears to want to take Britain in the global world, I’m sorry, I think of the ethnic cleansing of the Chagos Islands," said Mr Grant.

"I think of £2 billion worth of arms sales to a country that is accused of over 150 counts of crimes against humanity in Yemen.

"And I have to ask myself, are those two directions of travel reconcilable at all?

"As they say in Fife, I ha’ my doubts about that one."

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