Wednesday 23 August 2017

Scots may seek another vote after EU referendum

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (left) is welcomed by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (left) is welcomed by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker

Emily Gosden in Edinburgh

The Scottish people will demand a second independence referendum if they are dragged out of the EU against their will, Nicola Sturgeon has suggested.

The SNP leader warned that "if Scotland were to be taken out of Europe, despite voting as a nation to have remained, it would provoke a strong backlash among many ordinary voters in Scotland".

She said: "Quite what the result of that would be, no one knows. But I have stated before that this could be one scenario producing the kind of material change in circumstances which would precipitate popular demand for a second independence referendum.

"Bluntly, I believe the groundswell of anger among ordinary people in Scotland in these circumstances could produce a clamour for another independence referendum which may well be unstoppable."

Ms Sturgeon used a speech at the European Policy Centre in Brussels to reiterate calls for a so-called "double majority" provision in the EU referendum to ensure that the UK could only leave the EU if each nation within the UK voted to do so.

She said while she regarded the EU referendum as "undesirable" she acknowledged it was now inevitable.

She believed "unequivocally that membership of Europe is in Scotland's best interests" and the view was "very widely held... across the entire spectrum of the Scottish Parliament", she said.

Polls also showed "consistently show strong support for EU membership" in Scotland.

"Euroscepticism exists in Scotland - of course it does - but, in my view, not to a great extent, and not with the same virulence as we sometimes see in some other parts of the UK," she said.

Ms Sturgeon said: "One of the things that Scotland was consistently told, in the two years leading up to the independence referendum, is that we are a valued and equal partner in a UK family of nations. And, remember, the UK is just that - a multinational state. Surely, therefore, none of the nations that make up the UK should be at risk of being forced out of the EU against their will.

"That is why we are arguing for a 'double majority' provision - where the UK can only leave the EU, if each nation of the UK votes to leave.

"That sort of territorial requirement is used in some federal states such as Canada or Australia. It's time to apply it to the UK as well."

She also reiterated calls for 16 and 17-year-olds to be allowed to vote, as they were in the Scottish independence referendum, and to let EU citizens living in London vote. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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