Church and trade union call on Tories to respect Scotland’s right to decide
TORY PRIME MINISTER Theresa May is under new pressure to accept the right of people in Scotland to determine their own political future, following the Scottish Government’s declaration of plans for a new independence referendum.
A failure of the Tory Government to “move an inch” in the nine months since the EU referendum left the Scottish Government with no choice but to press ahead to protect the country’s national interests, according to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
Yet now May faces the challenge of accepting a ‘section 30 order’ – the legal route to accepting a binding referendum on Scottish independence at the conclusion of the Brexit progress. With rumours circulating that Downing Street could refuse the vote or demand a delayed referendum, warning have been issued beyond political parties that a referendum should not be blocked.
“One thing that would turn thousands of undecided Scots into Yes voters would be sight of arrogant extremist UK Government thwarting [a] section 30 order.” Malcolm Chisholm
Reverend Dr Richard Frazer, Convener of the Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland, warned it would be “wrong” for the Tories to thwart the right to democracy in Scotland.
“Today, the First Minister has declared her intention to seek the authority for a referendum on Scottish independence. And with a majority of MSPs in favour of independence it is likely that such a vote will be passed. The UK Parliament will have the final say on whether to grant the right to hold an Independence referendum. It would be wrong if it was withheld,” he said.
“It’s now for the Scottish Parliament to decide whether an independence referendum should take place. Westminster should honour that decision.” Unite Scotland
The intervention of the church – usually careful to appear balanced on political issues – is an early warning of the risk May would take by denying Scotland the opportunity to avoid the Hard Brexit strategy planned at Westminster.
Malcolm Chisholm, who stepped down as a Labour MSP at the last election, added: “One thing that would turn thousands of undecided Scots into Yes voters would be sight of arrogant extremist UK Government thwarting [a] section 30 order.”
Trade Union Unite put out a similar warning – calling on the Tories to respect the view of the Scottish Parliament: “It’s now for the Scottish Parliament to decide whether an independence referendum should take place. Westminster should honour that decision.
“But if there is to be another campaign on the question of Scottish independence, those fundamental questions around economic power should be at the heart of it,” the union said.
Sturgeon said that any Tory attempt to block a referendum in the ‘Brexit window’ “would be tantamount to the UK Government having sunk the ship with the Brexit vote trying to puncture Scotland’s lifeboat”.
The official UK Government response to the news was to warn that a referendum would be “divisive” – but fell short of clarifying on what grounds a section 30 order would be granted. A further statement on the issue is expected this week.
Picture courtesy of Conservatives
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