Brexit: SNP to ask for indyref powers over Brexit

Ian Blackford

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SNP Westminster spokesman Ian Blackford MP spoke to BBC’s Sunday Politics Scotland

The SNP will ask for the power to hold an independence referendum if the UK leaves the EU.

The party’s Westminster spokesman Ian Blackford MP told BBC’s Sunday Politics Scotland the party would put forward an amendment this week asking for the power to hold a second vote.

The people of Scotland should be able to “determine their own destiny” after the country voted to remain, he added.

Jeremy Hunt said earlier the prime minister would refuse the request.

‘Scotland’s choice’

However, Mr Blackford said that the Scottish Parliament has a mandate to hold an independence referendum and said that Theresa May should respect the sovereignty of the Scottish people.

Mr Blackford continued: “What we’re going to do is put down an amendment asking for the government to recognise that Scotland voted to remain.

“We’re also putting down as part of that amendment a recognition that if the UK does leave the European Union that the people of Scotland should be able to determine their own destiny and in particular should have that power to have an independence referendum if we so choose.

“We’re making reference in that to the claim of right and the debate we had in Parliament in July 2018 that Parliament accepted the motion that sovereignty rests with the Scottish people.

“We will do what we can to work with other parties to stop Brexit, we have no desire to see Scotland dragged out against its will, but we need to recognise that if that does happen then the people of Scotland have got to determine their own future.”

He added: “There is no such thing as a good Brexit, we know that it’s going to cost jobs, we know that it’s going to impact living standards, we know of course that no deal is absolutely disastrous for the people of Scotland.”

While the Scottish government could stage another vote on independence, a section 30 order transferring the powers needed to hold such a ballot from Westminster would be needed for it to be legally binding.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she would not hold a referendum without Westminster’s permission.

MPs will vote on the prime minister’s EU withdrawal bill on Tuesday.

Theresa May has said that if the vote is lost that she will give MPs the chance to vote against leaving the EU with no-deal and to request an extension of the Article 50 withdrawal process, delaying the UK’s 29 March departure date.

Mr Blackford said that the SNP would vote to rule out a no-deal Brexit and extend the Article 50 process if the prime minister’s vote on Tuesday is defeated.

He also said that the party supports a so-called “People’s Vote” on Brexit.

SNP ‘excuses’

A UK government spokesman said: “Scotland had an independence referendum in 2014 and voted decisively to remain in the UK.

“The Scottish government needs to stop using Brexit as an excuse to pursue their unwanted independence agenda.

“Rather than constantly seeking division and constitutional upheaval, the Scottish government needs to work with the UK government to avoid a damaging no deal. That is what people and business in Scotland expect.”


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