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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

I think the hon. Gentleman has probably answered his own question. It was the First Minister’s survey, not my survey, and I do not have the answers. If I did, I am sure I could have found hundreds of quotes to support the argument I am making and kept the debate going for the rest of the sitting, but I want to make progress and allow other Members to get in.

I made the point that we have the right—or we should have the right—to make the decision, established by our principle of sovereignty of the people. How best can we achieve that when the time is right? I look back to the 2014 referendum, in which I played a large part for more than two and a half years. That referendum was praised by the Electoral Commission as setting the gold standard for civic engagement and participation. The commission went on to note that

“The Scottish independence referendum was well run, with high levels of voter satisfaction in the voting process.”

It added:

“The atmosphere in polling places was reported by police, staff and observers to be good natured throughout the day.”

That was certainly my experience in the north of West Lothian, where I was campaigning on the day. While people had differing opinions, there was a good-natured democratic outpouring, and we still benefit from that today, as it is still there in civic engagement across society.

The commentator Iain Macwhirter described the 2014 referendum

“like the velvet revolutions in eastern Europe, Scotland’s national movement was non-sectarian, peaceful and rigorously democratic.”

That sums up my experience in Linlithgow, in the north of West Lothian, working with many people from different political parties.