Scottish Parliament backs ‘people’s vote’ on Brexit

Written by Tom Freeman on 8 November 2018 in News

MSPs vote for Lib Dem amendment backing a second referendum on Brexit

Scottish Parliament - Anita Gould

The Scottish Parliament has backed a referendum on the terms on which the UK leaves the European Union.

MSPs voted 65 to 30 in favour of a ‘people’s vote’ after the Liberal Democrats lodged an amendment to a debate on science and Brexit.

Two Labour MSPs – Daniel Johnson and former leader Kezia Dugdale – voted with Lib Dem, SNP and Green MSPs to back the idea, while the Conservatives were joined by the SNP’s Kenneth Gibson and independent Mark McDonald in voting against.

All the other Scottish Labour MSPs abstained on the issue.

The vote comes after a poll shows the majority of voters in every constituency in Scotland want a ‘people’s vote’.

The YouGov poll showed a total of 585 seats across the UK, out of 632 surveyed, back a new referendum on Brexit.

Speaking after the debate, Lib Dem Tavish Scott, who lodged the amendment, said: “This is a momentous vote. The Scottish Parliament is the first in the UK to back a People's Vote. It won't be the last. This will only get bigger.

“MSPs and MPs who back the People’s Vote are fast forming the biggest and most cohesive bloc in British politics. Every day, more and more people are coming to the conclusion that the public should have their say on the final Brexit deal.

“Liberal Democrats have badgered for months and have now persuaded the SNP and Greens to join the campaign.

“Labour members and voters want a vote on the final deal. Brexit will cripple our public finances, services and jobs. Richard Leonard and Jeremy Corbyn must seriously change their strategy and build a majority vote in every part of the UK.

“Country wide marches show the public at large want this.”

Dugdale said: “This is the first time in my seven years as an MSP that I have broken the Labour whip, and I took no pleasure in doing so.

“But this was the right thing to do for my constituents in Edinburgh and the Lothians, who I will always put first. Many of them will suffer considerably if we leave the EU without permanent membership of the Single Market and the Customs Union.”

The government debate was on safeguarding research in Scotland, much of which relies on EU funding and collaborations from across the continent.

Science minister Richard Lochhead said: "In Scotland, a country that voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU, we should be resolutely focused on attracting the best minds in Europe to work and study here to help us to build a successful and prosperous nation. Instead, thanks to the actions of others, we face the prospect of a Brexit brain drain. We need to stand together and prevent that from happening."

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