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Mary Fee MSP has hit out at Scottish Government Minister for External Affairs and International Development Humza Yousaf for a contemptuous response to a question posed by Mary on a Scottish passport system if Scotland separates from the rest of the United Kingdom.
During General Question Time in the Scottish Parliament last Thursday (21st Februrary), Mary asked the Scottish Government when a Scottish passport system would be in place if Scotland votes to break up the UK in next year’s referendum.
In his initial response Mr Yousaf replied that a Scottish passport system would be in place on Independence, which the Scottish Government claims would be sometime in March 2016.
However in her supplementary, Mary raised concerns with the Scottish Government, concerns highlighted to Mary in surgeries and on the doorstep across Renfrewshire, from concerned constituents.
Those concerns surrounded the validity of current British passports after independence, the cost to transfer the passport from the British system to a new Scottish passport system, will the UK Government honour current passports and will Scottish people have access to British embassies around the world after 2016.
Mr Yousaf then showed his contempt and derision for concerned constituents across Renfrewshire by claiming “that the sky will not fall in”, “the earth will not swallow up her constituents” and that “the Messiah will not have to postpone his second coming” if Scotland votes to break up the United Kingdom.
The West Scotland MSP has also expressed her disappointment that Mr Yousaf’s ridicule is offensive to religious constituents by claiming that the Messiah would not have to postpone his second coming.
Commenting afterwards the Scottish Labour MSP said;
“I asked the Scottish Government a sincere and genuine question on how a new Scottish passport system would operate if Scotland breaks away from the UK, and for Humza Yousaf to show his contempt and derision for constituents that have come to me is a disgrace and unworthy for the position he holds in the Scottish Government.”
“It is also offensive to anyone of religion to claim that the Messiah would not have to postpone his second coming if Scotland separates from the United Kingdom next year.”
“My constituents deserve better and I will continue to represent their views, concerns and questions in the Scdottish Parliament, while members of the SNP Scottish Government mock and jeer at such concerns.”
Notes to Editors
Transcript from the Official Report 21st February 2013
Mary Fee (West Scotland) (Lab):
6. To ask the Scottish Government when a Scottish passport system will be in place if Scotland separates from the rest of the United Kingdom. (S4O-01824)
The Minister for External Affairs and International Development (Humza Yousaf): I would expect a Scottish passport system to be in place on independence. [Applause.] That is the easiest applause that I have ever had.
Mary Fee: On doorsteps and in surgeries, I have been asked by constituents what will happen to their passports in the unfortunate circumstances of a yes vote in 2014—[Interruption.]
The Presiding Officer: Order. Let us hear the member.
Mary Fee: Can the minister tell members and the people of Scotland what will happen to their current British passports? Will there be a cost involved in changing over by 2016? Will the British Government honour people’s current passports? Will Scottish people have access to British embassies around the world after separation?
Humza Yousaf: I was not even born in 1979, but that sounded like a throwback to those days.
Mary Fee can reassure her constituents that we have always said that we would have inclusive and open citizenship—unless she has information that the United Kingdom Government will give dual citizenship to people of every nation on this earth except an independent Scotland. We will give details in the white paper later this year. The member can reassure people that the sky will not fall in, the earth will not swallow up her constituents and the Messiah will not have to postpone his second coming, come an independent Scotland.