AT LAST week’s cost-of-living debate at Holyrood, I spoke about the impact on my constituents of both Brexit and Tory financial mismanagement.

Seventy-thousand East Lothian residents fear being unable to pay their energy bills; 43 per cent fear not being able to pay their rent or mortgage; a quarter worry about homelessness; numbers dependent on East Lothian Foodbank have jumped by 77 per cent since last year; Brexit-related soaring food prices and labour shortages are undermining the viability of Scottish businesses.

The disastrous mini-budget is making the Tories’ hard Brexit even worse. Labour aims to “make Brexit work” but Brexit doesn’t work and it won’t work.

We must rejoin the EU at the earliest opportunity and for that we need independence as a fair and more inclusive country.

For example, international human rights law requires Scotland to have a system for obtaining legal gender recognition. After extensive public consultation, Holyrood is reforming this process to improve the lives of trans people; legislation passing through Holyrood will also safeguard the rights and protections that women enjoy under the Equality Act. Trans rights are human rights – these will characterise an independent Scotland that will be modern, inclusive and forward-looking.

Meanwhile, another new Tory Government pursues policies rejected in Scotland since 1955. Do even some Scottish Tories despair that, having scraped the bottom of the barrel with Liz Truss’s Government, a new abyss of incompetence is opening up? A Tory Home Secretary’s abhorrent “dream and passion” of flights to Rwanda, deporting desperate people to a future they didn’t choose, was condemned by Nicola Sturgeon as treating refugees “like unwanted cargo”.

Dangerous overcrowding, diphtheria and scabies are making life intolerable for migrants in Kent. ‘Taking back control of our money and borders’ is another Brexiteer illusion. The Institute for Fiscal Studies says the loss of trade since Brexit “is making us poorer”. Westminster intends to ditch all EU legislation that underpinned our trade with Europe, while also failing to resolve the Northern Ireland Protocol as Brexit hampers growth in UK business and trade.

There are no Brexit opportunities; Scotland can choose a different future.