Protecting Scotland’s interests
Consultation launched on draft Independence Referendum Bill.
A draft bill giving Scotland the ability to reconsider the question of independence before the UK leaves the EU has been published for consultation.
Following a commitment in last month’s Programme for Government, the draft bill has been prepared to protect Scotland’s interests in light of the UK vote to leave the EU and the overwhelming vote across Scotland to remain. Having the bill available will allow all options to be available to the Scottish Parliament to protect Scotland’s continuing relationship with Europe.
The draft bill proposes that any referendum would be run in a way similar to 2014, with technical adjustments to reflect recent changes in elections law and procedures such as individual registration.
The First Minister said:
“My priority is clear – we will do everything we can to protect Scotland’s interests.
“The damage to jobs and Scotland’s economy that will be caused by Brexit – especially a hard Brexit - is now plain to see.
“We will continue to work UK wide to seek to avert a hard Brexit and we will also bring forward proposals that seek to protect our place in the single market, even if the rest of the UK leaves.
“However, if we find that our interests cannot be properly or fully protected within a UK context then independence must be one of the options open to us and the Scottish people must have the right to consider it.
“Any decision on holding a referendum, including the timing of it, would be for the Scottish Parliament to take having considered all the options for Scotland’s future relationship with the EU and the associated impact of being forced to leave against our will.”
Constitution Secretary Derek Mackay said:
“This government remains committed to working with the UK Government on areas of common interest and where we can come up with constructive solutions to problems that we both face.
“It is important that a referendum on independence, like that in 2014, meets the gold standard in terms of fairness, transparency and propriety.
“The franchise will be the same as that for the Scottish Parliament. That will mean two important groups of people would have a voice denied to them in the recent referendum on EU membership: 16 and 17 year-olds and citizens of EU countries who have made Scotland their home.
“We are now publishing the bill for consultation so that it is ready for introduction should the Scottish Government decide that seeking the views of the Scottish people on independence is the best or only way to protect Scotland's interests in the wake of the EU referendum. In stark contrast with the UK Government, we have a clear plan of action.”
Notes To Editors
As announced in September 2016 in A Plan For Scotland: The Scottish Government's Programme For Scotland 2016-17, the Scottish Government is publishing for consultation a draft Referendum bill in order that it is ready for introduction should the Scottish Government conclude that seeking the view of the Scottish people on independence is the best or only way to protect Scotland’s interests in the wake of the EU referendum. It would then be for the Scottish Parliament to consider the bill and decide whether a referendum should be held.
The consultation sets out and seeks views on the Scottish Government’s proposals for legislation on how a referendum on independence for Scotland should be run. It is available from:
The consultation will run until 11 January 2017.
Latest News from
Improving housing rights for disabled people06/12/2019 14:05:00
Legislation will make housing more accessible.
Firework Review Group membership announced06/12/2019 10:05:00
Group to consider restrictions on fireworks use.
Financial redress for survivors of historical child abuse in care: review of the Advance Payment Scheme05/12/2019 15:05:00
This review of the Advance Payment Scheme considered a range of issues over the first five months of the scheme’s operation.
Scottish Police Authority Chair05/12/2019 13:05:00
SPA Vice-Chair to provide leadership ahead of new appointment.
Age threshold of payments for survivors of childhood abuse lowered04/12/2019 16:15:00
Review of Advance Payment Scheme.
Fire safety guidance for high-rise homes04/12/2019 15:15:00
Advice for residents and those responsible for fire safety.
Fairer Scotland Action Plan04/12/2019 12:20:00
Low income households helped through targeted support.
New Chief Inspector of Prosecution04/12/2019 11:05:00
Laura Paton has been appointed the new HM Chief Inspector of Prosecution in Scotland.