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by Kirsteen Paterson
14 December 2022
Bid to amend Scotland Act will fail, SNP MP suggests

Stephen Flynn has unveiled the SNP's bid to change the Scotland Act

Bid to amend Scotland Act will fail, SNP MP suggests

New SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn has unveiled a bid to give Holyrood referendum powers by changing the Scotland Act.

The overarching legislation sets the matters devolved to the Scottish Parliament.

The Westminster SNP group is to introduce a new bill to the UK Parliament which Flynn says aims to "unlock Westminster's denial of democracy".

The Scotland Act 1998 (Amendment) Bill sets out revisions to Schedule 5 of the 1998 legislation so that the Scottish Parliament can "act upon its mandate and legislate for an independence referendum," the SNP has said.

Four recent polls have shown a majority in favour of constitutional change, and the SNP was returned as the largest party in the 2021 Holyrood election on a platform for constitutional change.

Flynn stated: "The people of Scotland have already voted for a referendum and now is the time for one. That is a democratic reality that politicians at Westminster must wake up to."

However, long-serving SNP MP Angus MacNeil has said that Westminster's Conservative and Labour majority "gives one inevitable outcome," adding that it would be "easier to achieve things at Holyrood through either an FM resignation or achieving 2/3 of MSPs dissolving parliament".

Alba Party general secretary Chris McEleny has also expressed scepticism about the plan, saying that "the 500-odd unionists in the parliament just need to vote in favour of that and we are sorted".

Flynn said: "Four polls in a row now show majority support for independence, but with both the Tories and Labour joined at the hip in blocking democracy, it cannot be business as usual at Westminster."

Scottish Lib Dem deputy leader Wendy Chamberlain commented: "At at time when so many public services are grining to a halt, the new SNP Westminsrer leader is focused on a dead-end bill designed to appeal to only his most fanatical supporters."

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