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Referendum on Scottish Independence — [Mr Adrian Bailey in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:30 pm on 13th November 2017.

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Photo of Martyn Day Martyn Day Scottish National Party, Linlithgow and East Falkirk 4:30 pm, 13th November 2017

The last two Westminster elections have seen a clear majority of SNP MPs democratically returned by the people of Scotland, but under the UK’s first-past-the-post system, that is not democratic enough. For a truly democratic decision, we must secure the majority of the votes cast, not merely the majority of elected representatives. I say that as a democrat. That said, representative majority is the only democratically expressible way for a mandate to hold another referendum to be established. How else could we get to the plebiscite view? Of course, independence referendums are used frequently across the globe to determine such issues, and I am aware of at least 30 nations having gone on to become members of the United Nations after taking that route. I look forward to Scotland following them.

As I have said, the Scottish people can give their politicians an electoral mandate at any time they wish. In the last Scottish Parliament elections in May 2016, the SNP achieved the largest constituency vote in the history of devolution and was again returned to Government with a clear manifesto commitment. I will read the full commitment, because it is very important:

“We believe the Scottish Parliament should have the right to hold another referendum if there is clear and sustained evidence that independence has become the preferred option of a majority of the Scottish people—or 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.”

Those are two very clear conditions, one of which looks like it may be about to met.