Gregory Campbell says nationalism in Ireland and Britain exploits 'perceived disadvantage' in debate on denying Scotland independence poll

DUP MP Gregory Campbell has claimed nationalism in Ireland and Britain thrives on 'perceived disadvantage' during a debate on a petition calling on London to deny the Scottish people another independence referendum.

By Kevin Mullan
Thursday, 25th March 2021, 3:57 pm

The e-petition, calling for consent not to be given to another poll on Scottish independence, made it to the floor of Westminster Hall after receiving over 100,000 signatures.

It stated: “The independence referendum was called a once in a generation vote—so let it be.”

Mr. Campbell said he has sympathy for this view point.

Gregory Campbell

"Seven years ago in the run-up to that Scottish independence referendum, those who advocated independence pitched it not just as a once-in-a-generation vote and opportunity; they effectively said to the Scottish people, 'This is your chance—grasp it or lose it.' That is effectively what they said, and the people of Scotland gave their response in the outcome, which was that they were better off together within the United Kingdom," he said.

The East Derry MP said nationalism in Ireland and Britain exploited disadvantage and that he supported the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's 'levelling-up' agenda.

"Nationalism, whether in Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales, thrives where there is perceived disadvantage. I know from friends to whom I have spoken over many years that Scottish people feel that they have been disadvantaged by successive Governments.

"That is why the levelling-up approach by the Prime Minister is absolutely essential in delivering a better United Kingdom," he said.

The benefits of unionism, he said, were evident in the relatively successful roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccination programme in the United Kingdom.

"That is why the vaccination programme and the success of the national health service vaccination programme across the United Kingdom demonstrates that we are indeed better off together.

"For all of the Members here today who are from Scotland and all of their constituents, their Scottishness and their Britishness are not exclusive. They are complementary. It is not very often that I quote with affirmation a former Labour Prime Minister, but to paraphrase Gordon Brown speaking just before the referendum seven years ago, the people of Scotland have been born together in the United Kingdom, they have lived together, they have fought in wars together, and they have died together in the United Kingdom.

"That is a plea I would put out to all of the people of Scotland. We are much better off together. Let us build a truly United Kingdom, where all of us win, where all of us are levelled up, and where progress and prosperity can be achieved and obtained by everyone across the United Kingdom."