THE case for independence “has never been stronger”, according to Inverness and Nairn MP Drew Hendry.
He said his constituents want to be part of an “open-minded future” – not the “insular little Britain” he thinks triggering Article 50 and the process of the UK leaving the EU will cause.
This week Westminster voted to formally start Brexit proceedings.
Mr Hendry and his fellow Highland MPs Ian Blackford and Paul Monaghan, voted against leaving the EU following hours of debate were outvoted by 498 to 114.
An SNP amendment calling for a halt on proceedings, saying the UK government had failed to consult with devolved parliaments or guarantee the rights of EU nationals living the UK was also outvoted by 336 to 100.
During Wednesday’s debate Mr Hendry said: “People in the Highlands and elsewhere in Scotland want hope for the future.
“They want future conditions to reflect our nation. They want a big-hearted, open-minded, co-operative future where all who contribute to a better society, wherever they come from, are valued.
“They want an enlightened future, not an insular little Britain hand in hand with those who would drag us into the darkness.”
Speaking after the vote, Mr Hendry said: “Only one of Scotland’s 59 MPs, Tory MP David Mundell, voted in favour of triggering Article 50 yet Scotland faces being taken out of the EU against its will.
“During the independence campaign, we were repeatedly told that voting ‘no’ would assure membership of the EU, yet despite all 32 constituencies in Scotland voting to remain, we are one step closer to being dragged out of Europe.
“The case for independence has never been stronger.”
Ross, Skye and Lochaber MP Ian Blackford agreed, calling it a “dark day” for Scotland.
“While we respect that people in England voted to leave, the majority of people in Scotland voted to remain in the EU,” he said.
“There is a very clear threat to our economy in terms of jobs and wages.
“Westminster is not respecting Scotland’s wishes. It is a very dark day for the people of Scotland.
“We are being dragged out of Europe against our will.”