South Scotland SNP MSP Joan McAlpine has said that the will of Scotland’s parliament must be respected by the UK government.
Ms McAlpine’s comments came after MSPs backed the Scottish Government’s plans to hold a referendum on independence once the terms of Brexit have become clear, but before it is too late for Scotland to choose a different future.
Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU last June, with 53.1% of voters in Dumfries and Galloway voting to Remain - higher than the UK Leave vote. Yesterday, the Scottish Parliament pledged its support to giving the people of Scotland the right to choose between either a damaging Tory hard Brexit or Scottish independence.
Commenting, SNP MSP Joan McAlpine said:
“The Scottish Parliament has voted in favour of holding an independence referendum, once the terms of Brexit are clear, to give people in Scotland a choice over their future. It is would be undemocratic, indefensible and completely unsustainable for the Tory government at Westminster to ignore the will of the Parliament and block a referendum.
“The Scottish Government has a cast-iron democratic mandate to bring forward a referendum on independence, giving the people of Scotland the right to choose a different future from the hard Brexit that the Tories are intent on delivering. The First Minister has set out a clear, fair timescale for a future vote – and it is up to the UK government to engage with the Scottish Government over this timing.
“The lack of respect afforded by the UK government to the Scottish Government’s compromise proposals sets a worrying precedent – and triggering Article 50 before securing the promised a UK-wide agreement proves that the Tory government has no interest in working with the other administrations across the UK.
“The Tories must not ride roughshod over the will of Scotland’s Parliament and drag Scotland out of the European single market against our will. To do so would be completely ignoring vote to remain as part of the EU. It is particularly important in Dumfries and Galloway where we have benefited from so much EU rural development funds. Our farmers face massive tariffs and barriers to trade as well as a withdrawal of subsidy as a result of Brexit.
“The Scottish Government is committed to standing up for Scotland’s interests and giving the people of Scotland a choice on this country’s future. Anything else would be simply undemocratic, and the Tories will rue the day that they stood in the way of giving the people a choice over their future.”