As Scotland looks set to be dragged into a hard Brexit, the SNP asserts commitment to the rights of EU nationals at threat
EU NATIONALS VOTING RIGHTS should be protected and extended according to a unanimous vote by delegates at the SNP conference in Aberdeen today (Friday 17 March).
The motion brought forward by Aberdeen South and North Kincardine SNP branch demanded that EU nationals and non-Commonwealth citizens resident in Scotland should have their voting rights guaranteed at every point of the Brexit process.
It also stipulated that voting rights should be extended to those who had been resident in Scotland for five years as a show of “democratic action” and solidarity.
The move comes at a time when EU nationals face having their voting rights curtailed after the UK leaves the EU and completes the Brexit process, after which EU law and entitlements would no longer be in force.
“I don’t know about you but I never want those who have chosen Scotland as their home to be voiceless ever again.” Doug Daniel
The motion read: “Conference believes extending voting rights to all those who make their home in Scotland would send an important message that we are an inclusive nation that believes in equal rights.”
Doug Daniel, a leading delegate from Aberdeen branch, told the conference audience: “It’s been made increasingly clear that the Tories want to gerrymander Scotland’s next referendum to excluded EU nationals and take their rights. It’s only right that those who live and work in Scotland should be able to decide their future. They do not deserve to be used as bargaining chips by Theresa May in her doomed attempt to negotiate a hard Brexit.
“I don’t know about you but I never want those who have chosen Scotland as their home to be voiceless ever again.”
On Monday (13 March) the House of Commons rejected an amendment by peers in the Lords to guarantee the rights of EU nationals during Brexit process. This has led to accusations that the UK Government are in effect using European citizens as bargaining chips in future negotiations with the remaining 27 member states.
“It’s been made increasingly clear that the Tories want to gerrymander Scotland’s next referendum.” Doug Daniel
Supporters of independence see this not only as a democratic outrage but as a central tactical issue in the prospects of a future second referendum on Scottish independence. There are estimated to be 181,000 EU nationals living and working in Scotland at the present.
Pro-independence politicians believe many may now support independence, given that the UK Government and pro-union parties are seen to be driving Scotland towards a hard Brexit and the abandonment of EU free movement.
Yesterday (16 March) the UK Prime Minister Theresa May told the Scottish Government that “now is not the time” for a second referendum on independence. Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Tory leader in a joint statement with Scotland’s only Tory MP David Mundell stated that it would be “unlikely” that a referendum could be held with the UK Government’s agreement before the Brexit process was completed.
Picture property of David Thomman
Check out what people are saying about how important CommonSpace is: Pledge your support today.