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Referendums (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 7th November 2019.

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Photo of Murdo Fraser Murdo Fraser Conservative

Although the bill might appear to be about referendums in general, we know that, in practice, it is about just one issue: independence. Even in that respect, the bill is fundamentally flawed. It seeks to give substantial powers to Scottish ministers to bypass Parliament and to grab power for themselves. In particular, it would give them the power to set the question in any referendum without proper scrutiny. That is unacceptable to the Scottish Conservatives, and should be unacceptable to Parliament.

We do not want another independence referendum and we do not believe that the public want another referendum. However, even if we did want one, the bill is not a suitable vehicle to take a referendum forward. For the reasons that I have given, Parliament should reject it at decision time.