Parliament to debate Scotland’s right to sovereignty and determine its own future
THE NATIONAL PARLIAMENT of Scotland will vote on Wednesday 22 March on the country’s right to determine its own future and call a fresh referendum on independence.
The full text of the motion placed in the name of the Scottish Government and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was published today [Monday 20 March] the day before debate begins in parliament.
With support from the Scottish National Party and Scottish Greens, the plan for a fresh independence referendum is highly likely to pass – putting pressure on Tory Prime Minister Theresa May to respect the call of the country’s elected parliament to back down from threats to refuse the right of people in Scotland to choose between independence and a Tory Hard Brexit scheduled for early 2019.
While the motion will pass, Labour will opt to once again join forces with the Tories to oppose proposals on independence – a repeat of the 2014 alliance that has seen Labour tumble from their once dominant position in national politics.
“If MSPs pass this motion this week, then the Prime Minister’s position of blocking a referendum and forcing through a hard Brexit without giving the people a choice will be democratically indefensible.” Nicola Sturgeon
The motion, published in full, reads: “That the parliament acknowledges the sovereign right of the Scottish people to determine the form of government best suited to their needs and therefore mandates the Scottish Government to take forward discussions with the UK Government on the details of an order under section 30 of the Scotland Act 1998 to ensure that the Scottish Parliament can legislate for a referendum to be held that will give the people of Scotland a choice over the future direction and governance of their country at a time, and with a question and franchise, determined by the Scottish Parliament, which would most appropriately be between the autumn of 2018, when there is clarity over the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, and around the point at which the UK leaves the EU in spring 2019.”
A section 30 order is the legal device required for the Scottish Parliament to hold a legally recognised referendum on the constitution. Theresa May provoked a backlash by claiming that it was the wrong time to hold a fresh referendum in 2018/19 – despite the looming deadline of Scotland being dragged out of the EU following the 62 per cent vote to remain.
Sturgeon called on support for the motion: “The Scottish Parliament will be asked this week to support a motion to give the people of Scotland a choice over their future – once the terms of Brexit are clear, but before it is too late to change course.
“If MSPs pass this motion this week, then the Prime Minister’s position of blocking a referendum and forcing through a hard Brexit without giving the people a choice will be democratically indefensible.
“The sovereign right of the people of Scotland to determine the form of government best suited to their needs is a longstanding and widely-accepted principle.
“Brexit will fundamentally change the form of government in Scotland – a change that Scotland opposed. The people of Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the European Union, yet we now face being dragged out of Europe – and the single market – against our will.
“A hard Brexit threatens huge economic and social damage to Scotland, and the people must have the opportunity to choose a different, better path.”
Labour and Tory leaders in Scotland – Kezia Dugdale and Ruth Davidson – previously said that London should not block a future independence referendum. But both parties plan to vote against the motion.
Dugdale warned that she didn’t “want to go back” to a time when there were arguments and “colleagues fell out”.
The publication of the motion coincided with Tory Prime Minister Theresa May confirming that the process on exiting the European Union and the European Single Market will begin on Friday 29 March.
Picture courtesy of Jordi Gabarro Llop
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