To the sound of rapturous applause, Louise White summed up in just 17 words the paradox in the SNP’s position on Brexit and a potential future independence referendum.
She put the question to the panel in Glasgow: "Why do the SNP want to reclaim powers from Westminster – only to hand them over to Brussels?”
Two other members of the panel took on the question before it came to the SNP’s John Swinney, the deputy first minister of Scotland, whose party has repeatedly threatened a second bid for independence after the vote for Brexit.
This member of the audience turned up the heat on the SNP during Question Time
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Why do the SNP want to reclaim powers from Westminster – only to hand them over to Brussels
Nicola Sturgeon’s number two replied: "There are a whole range of independent countries that have decided voluntarily to stay together as part of the European Union.”
“Some of them are small countries like Scotland, others are larger countries but they all decide in their common interest for mutual benefit and for mutual progress.
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“If we are part of the European Union then we have access to a market of five hundred million people, which is ten times the market of the United Kingdom.
“It’s a significant opportunity that is now going to be more difficult for us to access because of the decision to leave the European Union.
Mark Littlewood said it was strange the SNP wanted to shackle themselves to the EU again
“So it’s about making sure we can assert the national interest of Scotland, which can be best served by working with other countries for mutual benefit.”
David Mundell, Tory secretary of state for Scotland, hit back: “I’m always staggered when the SNP make this point about the European market and how important it is to Scotland.
“The market in the rest of the UK is worth four times as much as all 27 other countries and this is just disregarded as if it was a mere nothing.
“The logic just doesn’t stack up."
Mark Littlewood, director general of the Institute of Economic Affairs and a Brexiteer, added: "It’s a strange one, if you want to assert your independence, to throw off the dominance of the Westminster parliament and then immediately reshackle yourself to the European Union."