Independence Referendum

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 22nd March 2017.

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Photo of Fiona Hyslop Fiona Hyslop Scottish National Party

The Scottish National Party’s position and the position of the Scottish Government is as it has been for some time: EU membership. That is what we are pursuing.

We were elected less than a year ago on a manifesto that explicitly set out:

“the Scottish Parliament should have the right to hold another referendum ... if there is a significant and material change in the circumstances that prevailed in 2014, such as Scotland being taken out of the EU against our will.”

The Government understands that people have been asked to make a number of momentous decisions in a short period of time, but these circumstances are not of our choosing. Change will happen because of Brexit. We need to decide how we respond and how the people of Scotland can exercise their sovereign power to determine their future in these changing circumstances.

Should the Parliament decide to hold a Scottish referendum, our proposed timeframe is logical and sensible: at some point between the autumn of 2018 and the spring of 2019. We are suggesting holding a Scottish referendum not now but when the terms of the Brexit deal are ready.

To fit in with the Prime Minister’s timeframe, the article 50 negotiations will be concluded by October 2018. The European Commission has made that clear. So, the terms of the deal will be known before any independence referendum.