David Defends the Union

Mr David Amess (Southend West) (Con): What recent discussions he has had with the Scottish Government on the referendum on Scottish independence.

The Secretary of State for Scotland (Michael Moore): I have discussed the referendum with the Scottish Government on a number of occasions, most recently on 15 October, when Scotland’s two Governments reached agreement on the process to ensure that there is a legal, fair and decisive referendum.

Mr Amess: Does the Secretary of State agree that one of the arguments for separation is based on the false premise that it would be good for the Scottish economy? Does he agree that separation would be good for the English economy but not for the Scottish economy?

Michael Moore: I certainly agree with my hon. Friend that Scotland is stronger as part of the United Kingdom economy. We would be weaker if we were outside it, primarily because it gives us access to this huge single market which takes twice as many of our exports—if we can call them that—as anywhere else in the world; it has the resilience to absorb huge financial catastrophes, such as the bank collapse; and it gives us the clout internationally to be at the top table, where all the key economic decisions are made. That is far better for Scotland.