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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 Michael Russell Michael Russell Scottish National Party

No. I am sorry, but I am not taking interventions, as I have a lot to get through. There has been a long debate, and Mr Johnson has not been here for it.

Throughout the whole process, I have been agreeable to change. If Labour was genuine about those changes, it should support the bill.

On section 37, which has been objected to, it has been recommended that electoral legislation be dynamic. That means that we can continue to change as circumstances change. Electoral administrators will tell us that that is required, and we should support that.

I started by saying that this is an unusual debate. This is also an unusual Parliament. That has been shown this afternoon. In a normal national Parliament, we would expect enthusiasm for enabling our voters to have their say. [

Interruption

.] I do not think that any Liberal Democrat should talk about trust. In a normal national Parliament, we would expect keenness to have a debate about how we enhance democracy, and there would be an acceptance that each and every member of that Parliament would vote for a democratic choice on the nation’s future. This debate has proved to me yet again that, because this is not yet a normal national Parliament, we should continue with the process of ensuring that we have a normal nation—and that is an independent nation.

I commend the bill.