SNP Manifesto

The Scottish National Party (SNP) launched their manifesto on 30 May 2017. You can read it in full here.

Stronger for Scotland (page 4)

SNP MPs have used their influence to deliver positive change. Here’s just some of what a strong team of SNP MPs has worked to achieve in the past two years. 

Leading opposition to the bombing of Syria. It was the SNP that provided the clear and unified opposition to the UK government’s ill-judged decision to bomb Syria. SNP MPs will continue to press the UK government to take meaningful action to bring about a political resolution to end the six-year conflict in Syria, in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2254.

Clear, consistent and unified opposition to Trident. SNP MPs have been the only effective opposition to the UK government’s plan to spend billions on a new generation of nuclear weapons.

Fighting for a fairer immigration policy. Ian Blackford and Alex Salmond successfully lobbied on behalf of the Brain family and secured their right to live in Scotland. We will continue to support a post-study work visa, to help attract and retain the skills and talent Scotland needs.

Defence, Security and Global Peace-Keeping

Fighting international crime and terrorism (page 42)

International co-operation is essential to keep Scotland and the rest of the UK safe from the threats of organised crime, cybercrime and terrorism. SNP MPs will call for continued co-operation on detecting, disrupting and detaining criminals across borders through Europol. We will seek assurances that our law enforcement agencies will continue to have the same level of access to Europol as they currently enjoy.

We will oppose any moves that would seek to use security co-operation as as a bargaining chip in Brexit or trade negotiations with our European friends and neighbours

Arms exports (page 43)

SNP MPs have led the calls for resolution of the destructive conflict in South Yemen. Given the clear evidence that munitions supplied by the United Kingdom have been used in breach of international law, there should be an immediate ban on arms sales to Saudi Arabia pending proper investigation.

And we will urge the UK government to immediately halt all military support and arms sales to regimes suspected of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.

Our place in the world (page 43)

Building on the experience of the Scottish Government’s partnership with the United Nations to empower the women of Syria and promote Scotland as a centre for training of female peacemakers, the SNP will continue to support UN Security Council Resolution 1325 reaffirming the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts.

Use of banned weapons against civilian populations should be investigated by the United Nations. If the Security Council is unable to act, we believe the General Assembly should take the initiative and if the evidence supports it those responsible – including state actors – should be brought before the International Criminal Court.

SNP MPs will continue to argue that the struggle against Daesh must be pursued by more than military means and must include the battle of ideas which demonstrate that international justice and civic tolerance can be achieved without recourse to violence and barbarity. SNP MPs will urge the UK government to redouble its efforts to bring about a political resolution, through the UN Security Council in accordance with its Resolution 2254, to end the six year conflict in Syria.

The SNP will uphold the international agreement which led to the end of the Republic of Iran’s nuclear weapons programme. Any attempt to renege on the agreement in terms of the reintegration of Iran into the international community and the relaxation of sanctions would be to undo one of the greatest achievements in peace building of recent years.

The SNP will continue to work with international partners to progress a lasting peace settlement in the Middle East, pursuing a two state solution for Israel and Palestine.

A Compassionate Country

Extreme poverty, inequality, climate change, the plight of refugees fleeing war and repression, and the humanitarian impact of disasters and emergencies are global issues on which we have a moral duty to act. A strong team of SNP MPs at Westminster will make sure that when it comes to their humanitarian and moral obligations, the UK government will not be let off the hook. 

International Development (page 46)

SNP MPs will hold the UK government to its commitment of spending 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income on international development. We will seek to ensure overseas aid funding meets the internationally-recognised Development Assistance Criteria and does not undermine public services in developing countries. 

We believe that overseas aid funding must not be used for defence or intelligence related expenditure. We will urge the UK government to ensure development programmes have human rights and the rights of women at their heart.

The world’s poorest and most vulnerable countries are the least responsible for climate change, yet face its biggest impacts. We will maintain the position of a Climate Justice Spokesperson, and call on the UK government to match the approach of the Scottish Government with a dedicated Climate Justice Fund.

In 2015, Scotland’s First Minister confirmed that the Scottish Government would be one of the first anywhere in the world to commit to meeting the UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development, both at home and overseas. The Global Goals should be a key focus for international development policy and spending, and the particular role of women and girls in development must be recognised. The Department for International Development should be maintained as a standalone department of Government with its own Secretary of State.

SNP MPs will continue to support the EU in the pursuit of the objectives outlined in the EU Global Strategy, particularly in the cross-cutting themes of Human Rights, Women, Peace and Security and Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment

As new trading relationships are formed, the SNP will back policies which support development and ensure that the UK’s trade arrangements with developing countries prioritise poverty reduction. Given Scotland’s long and enduring relationship with Malawi, the SNP will continue to call for the UK government to renegotiate a new, fair tax treaty with Malawi.

Ethical Trade (page 46)

As the UK sets its own trade policy, it must be done responsibly and ethically. ActionAid has ranked the UK joint worst in the world for having the largest number of treaties with developing countries which most restrict the rights of poor countries to tax UK companies operating there. The SNP will urge the UK government to develop a trade and development policy that outlines how the UK will support development as part of its trade with developing countries.

The SNP Scottish Government has committed to “always consider the human rights implications of its engagement with countries and business” and to ensure that “investment agreements should only be signed where appropriate due diligence, including on the human rights record of companies involved, has been undertaken.” The SNP Scottish Government is now engaging with Amnesty International to put these commitments into practice. SNP MPs will demand that the UK government follows the lead of the Scottish Government. 

Championing LGBTI rights globally (page 47)

SNP MPs will support the establishment of a special envoy to promote the rights of LGBTI people throughout the world, as an integral part of UK foreign policy - helping to alleviate the discrimination and persecution faced by LGBTI people in Chechnya and across the world.

Meeting our humanitarian and moral obligations (page 47)

We believe that the UK government has a responsibility – through action and leadership – to tackle global issues such as extreme poverty, the impact of climate change, the plight of refugees fleeing war and repression and the humanitarian impact of disasters and emergencies. 

The UK government’s response to the refugee and migration crisis has fallen far short of their humanitarian and moral duty. The decision to close the Dubs Scheme for unaccompanied children – putting them at risk of exploitation – is shameful. SNP MPs will back an immediate reversal to ensure safe and legal routes are open. In addition, the Dublin Regulation process needs to be simplified, reformed, and properly implemented so that those with family in the UK can be more easily reunited with them. 

SNP MPs will urge the UK government to take action on the recommendations of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees including implementing a National Refugee Integration Strategy that ensures all agencies coordinate support for refugees and helps refugees take part in, and contribute to, our society.

There has been a worrying trend in the rhetoric coming from the current UK government as it relates to those seeking protection. The SNP will always defend the system of international protection of refugees that provides a place of safety for those facing serious harm or persecution. We need to ensure that the system of assessing asylum claims is thorough and fair and treats all passing through it with dignity. Those who have waited six months for an asylum decision should be able to use their skills and to support themselves by taking up work – as most EU countries allow. We will continue to oppose the continued cuts to support that have led to asylum seekers becoming destitute. 

We need to fundamentally change the UK government’s system for housing asylum seekers. The disgraceful condition of the housing provided and the contracts the UK government has with providers have been roundly criticised by all parties. The Scottish Government’s work to resettle Syrian refugees has shown how people can be supported and welcomed into communities and should be used as basis for settling asylum seekers in the future. We will urge the UK government to work with the devolved administrations, local authorities and local communities to provide services for asylum seekers rather than use private contractors who have profit rather than people as their prime motive.

There needs to be reform to the detention and asylum system for LGBTI individuals escaping countries where homosexuality is still criminalised, removing unfair and invasive demands for ‘proof’ of sexuality or gender identity

An Open, Modern Econony

An immigration policy that works for Scotland (pages 27 & 28)

Our vision of Scotland is one of an open country that looks outwards, and encourages the best and brightest from Europe, and around the world, to make Scotland their home.

Scotland needs an immigration policy suited to our specific circumstances and needs. Scotland needs people to want to work here, in our businesses, our universities and in our public services. The current UK one-size-fits-all approach to immigration is failing Scotland.

The SNP will continue to seek devolution of immigration powers so that Scotland can have an immigration policy that works for our economy and society. And we will stand firm against the demonisation of migrants.

Throughout the Brexit process the UK government has treated EU nationals living in the UK as bargaining chips. It is shameful, and it must end. SNP MPs will continue to press the UK government to confirm the rights of EU nationals to remain as a matter of urgency. We expect the rights of UK nationals living in the EU to be guaranteed in the same way.

We will continue to make the case for the reintroduction of a Post-Study Work Visa scheme for Scotland, to enable international students who come here to study to then stay and contribute to our society and economy after they graduate.

The UK government recently introduced a Skills Immigration Charge – a charge for employers, including the public sector, of £1,000 per non-EEA worker per year. This fee will lead to skills shortages, harm our economy and remove funding from frontline public services. We oppose this policy and remain concerned that the UK government will implement a similar charge for workers from the EU post-Brexit. SNP MPs will oppose any such moves, and press for the charge to be scrapped altogether.

SNP MPs will continue to press the UK government to limit immigration detention to 28 days. No other European country has indefinite detention. We continue to oppose the detention of children and vulnerable people, including pregnant women and people with mental illnesses. We will continue to call for the UK government to pursue alternatives to detention. 

Access to citizenship has become increasingly expensive. We support a review of the citizenship application process, with a view to bringing down its cost and reducing its complexity.

Scotland's Future

Protecting Fundamental Rights (page 30)

Brexit threatens the fundamental rights that people in the UK currently enjoy, including workers’ rights, as well as vital social and environmental protections. SNP MPs will hold the Tories to account to ensure that the rights and protections currently safeguarded by EU membership are not diminished after the UK leaves.

We will also seek a cast-iron guarantee from the UK government that they will seek the consent of the Scottish Parliament under the Sewel Convention to the terms of the Brexit Bill.

The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) is enshrined in the Scotland Act 1998, ensuring that human rights are protected by the Scottish Government and all Scottish legislation. The SNP re-affirms its commitment to the Council of Europe, the ECHR and their institutions.

We will fight to protect human rights across the UK. SNP MPs will oppose any attempts by the UK government to scrap the Human Rights Act and withdraw the UK from the ECHR.

So long as Scotland is covered by trade arrangements negotiated by the UK government, the SNP will call for greater transparency in any proposed international trade deals following Brexit, with the UK and Scottish Parliaments being given a say.

The benefits delivered by EU funding for Scotland are significant and wide-ranging - supporting jobs, paying for new infrastructure across the country, funding research at our universities, and providing support for our farming and fishing industries. SNP MPs will demand urgent clarity from the UK government on long-term funding arrangements after the UK leaves the EU, and ensure that current funding levels are matched.