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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 Alex Rowley Alex Rowley Labour

I am coming to that, so I will address Mr Harvie’s point.

The SNP has, on the one hand, tried to portray the bill—just as Mr Harvie does—as simply an administrative procedure to facilitate future referendums, rather than retaining the current ad hoc approach. However, the bill is, of course, only really about one referendum. In fairness, I say that the SNP has made no secret of that—it is the SNP indyref 2 bill. As Nicola Sturgeon has made clear, the bill is being introduced to pave the way for an independence referendum in the current session of Parliament.

Labour cannot support the bill on that basis. We believe that it is not in Scotland’s interests to create, in the midst of the Tory Brexit chaos, even more uncertainty and chaos. Indeed, I suggest that it would, during this chaos, be impossible to put a clear proposition to the Scottish people. Would we be in or out of Europe? Mr Russell suggests that he has had a nod and a wink from some people in Europe that we would be welcomed with open arms. I am not sure who nodded—