SNP to call for power to hold independence referendum if UK leaves EU: Blackford
The SNP will put forward an amendment asking for the power to hold an independence referendum if the UK leaves the EU, the party’s Westminster spokesman has said.
Ian Blackford MP said that the people of Scotland should be able to “determine their own destiny” after the country voted to remain in the EU in the 2016 referendum.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt on Thursday said that the Prime Minister would “of course” refuse the Scottish Government permission to hold another independence referendum.
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 told BBC Sunday Politics Scotland that the SNP will put down an amendment at Westminster this week.
He said: “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 and 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.
“So 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.
Mrs 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 March 29 departure date.
Mr Blackford said that the SNP will 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 People’s Vote on Brexit.