Scotland stands at a hugely important crossroads but the position we find ourselves in isn’t one of our choosing – 62% of people in Scotland voted to Remain in the EU referendum last year but we now face being taken out against our will and against the promises that were made in 2014. In common with most people across Scotland, I wish that we weren’t in this situation. The Prime Minister has set her course towards hard Brexit, without listening to Scotland’s voice at all and the collapse of Labour means we face a prolonged period of uninterrupted and unchecked Tory government at Westminster. We can’t drift along for the next two years and hope for the best.
Since the referendum in June, the Scottish Government’s extensive and genuine attempts at compromise with the UK government – attempts to protect Scotland’s interests – have fallen on deaf ears. All of this has massive implications for Scotland – for our economy, jobs, public spending, and living standards. That Scotland can be ignored on an issue as important as our membership of the EU and the single market, only serves to highlight that our voice and our interests can be ignored at any time and on any issue.
However, the SNP believe that it’s not just our membership of the EU at stake, but the kind of country we want to be. That’s why, after careful consideration, Nicola Sturgeon has set out a plan for the way ahead – to allow the people of Scotland, as best she can, to be in control of events, not just at the mercy of them. The SNP believe it is important that Scotland has the right to choose our own future at a time when the terms of Brexit are clear, but before it is too late to decide on our own path.
In our manifesto the SNP stated,
“We believe that 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.”
Scotland is being dragged out of the EU against the will of not just our nation as a whole, but every voting community across the country, and the UK Government is still refusing to even consider and discuss in a constructive manner, Scotland’s future within the single market.
Having been elected to serve an historic third term in Government based on our manifesto commitments, the SNP now have a clear mandate and responsibility to call a new independence referendum.
That is why the Scottish Government is taking the steps necessary to make sure that Scotland will have a choice – whether to follow the UK to a hard Brexit, or to become an independent country able to secure our relationship with Europe, build a stronger and more sustainable economy and create a fairer society. That choice will not be taken by MPs, the Scottish Government, the UK Government or political Parties but will be decided by the people of.