Greens urge Nicola Sturgeon to stick to independence referendum timetable

Written by Jenni Davidson on 27 June 2017 in News

Patrick Harvie and Maggie Chapman say nothing has changed and Scots should still be given a vote on the Brexit deal

Patrick Harvie and Maggie Chapman - image credit: Colin Hattersley Photography

The co-conveners of the Scottish Green Party have written to Nicola Sturgeon urging her to resist calls to postpone a second independence referendum.

Maggie Chapman and Patrick Harvie MSP argue that there is nothing to change the argument in favour of Scotland’s future being decided by the people who live here, on the timescale previously set out.

Sturgeon has called for an independence referendum in the autumn of 2019 or spring 2020, once the outcome of a Brexit deal was known.

In March the Scottish Parliament voted in favour of asking Westminster for a Section 30 order, which is needed to hold a referendum.

The Scottish Greens also voted in favour of calling for a Section 30 order at their party conference in October 2016.

But Nicola Sturgeon has been urged by some to shelve plans for indyref2 in light of the SNP’s general election result earlier this month, in which the party lost 21 seats against unionist parties that put opposition to a second independence referendum at the heart of their campaigns.

In their letter, the co-conveners say they “took this position in light not only of the EU referendum result, but also of the UK Government’s choice to ignore the strong Remain vote in Scotland and to take a narrow UK-wide Leave vote as a pretext for the ‘hard Brexit’ stance which we know will do so much damage to our economy and society.”

They say: “On the question of timing, it seems quite reasonable to us that once the negotiations are concluded and the ‘deal’ is known, and broadly in the same period during which all other EU member states will have the chance to ratify the outcome, the people of Scotland should have their chance to decide on their future.

“The people who live here should not be the only people in Europe to remain voiceless at this critically important time.

Following the 2017 general election, it is clear that some are making the case that the relative fortunes of the political parties in Scotland give a basis for claiming that the right of people in Scotland to decide their constitutional future has been “rejected”.

“We cannot accept this, and we urge you not to.

“The single clearest implication of the general election, which was called for shallow and opportunistic reasons by a Prime Minister who was then barely willing to campaign, is that her request for a strong mandate for her hard Brexit agenda has been refused by voters throughout these islands.

“This must be seen alongside the unchanged reality that Scotland has not consented to leaving the EU in the first place, and is being all but ignored in the whole process.

“Given these facts, we see nothing to change the argument in favour of Scotland’s future being decided by the people who live here, on the timescale outlined above, one which we see as giving both maximum information and opportunity to voters as they make their choice.”

An announcement by the First Minister on plans for referendum is expected today ahead of the Scottish Parliament closing for the summer recess.

This morning Sturgeon tweeted: "I'll be seeking agreement of @ScotParl to make a statement later today on the way forward for Scotland after the General Election".

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