Sturgeon: SNP MPs will vote for second UK-wide EU referendum

Ben Wray

Organisers say 100,000 marched through Edinburgh for Scottish independence on Saturday

FIRST MINISTER and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has said her SNP MPs will back a second UK-wide EU referendum if there is a vote on it in the House of Commons, as SNP’s annual conference in Glasgow is set to begin.

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Sturgeon said “they would not stand in the way” of what supporters call The People´s Vote, adding that they would “undoubtedly vote for” another Brexit-related referendum, but that they would “want to talk to people how they can ensure that Scotland doesn’t face the same position again”.

She went on to suggest that those protections could mean a “double-lock” where every nation in the UK has to vote to leave the EU for it to happen, or a second independence referendum if Scotland voted to remain in the EU and the rest of the UK voted to Leave.

“The case for a second EU referendum is understandable but it’s not the real solution to the fundamental problem Scotland finds itself in,” she added.

On an independence referendum, the SNP leader said she would outline her plan only when it was clear what a deal would be between the UK and the EU at the end of this “phase” of the negotiations, which she said could now be in November. However, she also warned of the dangers of a “blind Brexit”, where the House of Commons is votes on a vague outline of a Brexit deal and the details are finalised between the UK and EU later.

The comments come after a new Survation poll shows support for independence rising. If a referendum were held tomorrow, the poll found, 46 per cent would vote Yes and 54 per cent No, but if a referendum were held after the conclusion of Brexit that would change to 50/50, while if the UK leaves the EU with No Deal support for independence would rise to 52 per cent in favour 46 per cent against.

On Saturday [6 October], what has been described as possibly the biggest pro-independence demonstration in history took place in Edinburgh, with organizers of the All Under One Banner march saying they believed around 100,000 people marched through the capital.

AUOB organiser Manny Singh told CommonSpace earlier this week that the SNP needs to give a “clear answer” about what the strategy is for an independence referendum.

“The SNP need to give independence supporters a clear answer. They can’t just keep saying ‘the hierarchy decides, and they have a plan’. That’s not good enough anymore. They need to advise the rest of the Scottish public what they are planning to do,” he said.

It is not anticipated that there will be a debate at SNP conference on Brexit or Scottish independence on the conference floor, with no motions on those issues up for debate. The first day of the conference will hear a speech from Justice Minister Humza Yousaf MSP. The First Minister will address the conference on Tuesday [9 October].