During a debate later today in the Scottish Parliament, Constitution Secretary Angus Robertson will stress that the UK Government must respect the right of people in Scotland to choose their constitutional future.
Mr Robertson is expected to say that, as the United Kingdom is a ‘voluntary union’ of nations, the UK Government should respect the democratic mandate which exists for an independence referendum.
He will say that they should do so by cooperating with the Scottish Government to give people in Scotland the opportunity to choose the country’s future.
It is absolutely right that Scotland’s democratic deficit is one of the first orders of business as MSPs return to Parliament this year.
The question of Scotland’s independence is not an abstract one – it is central to how we can respond to all of the present challenges of most concern to people here in Angus and across the country.
We are having to defend a basic principal of democracy here – that the people of Scotland have the right to decide on independence.
It is indefensible and unsustainable that a democratic route to this is denied.
– Constitution Secretary, Angus Robertson
Democracy is about making people’s choices matter. In light of majority support within the Scottish Parliament for an independence referendum, we remain willing to engage with the UK Government at any point to give people – through legitimate democratic means – that much needed choice to determine their future.
Two years on from leaving the European Union, despite every council area in Scotland voting to remain in the EU, we are continuing to count the impact of Brexit which is harming everyone in Scotland. We will soon have to deal with the implication of the Retained EU Law Bill which, despite the Scottish Parliament voting to withhold legislative consent, could jeopardise our strong employment, environment and agriculture laws. This further demonstrates the long-lasting and damaging implications facing Scotland as a result of choices made by the UK Government as part of the current ‘voluntary union’ and makes the case for Scotland to have a clear choice on its own future.
The constitutional debate is not separate from the issues facing households and businesses across the country – the pressures on public services, the economy and the cost of living crisis and other everyday issues reinforce the need for people to have a choice on our future. That is why work is continuing on the Building a New Scotland prospectus series which prioritises building a fairer, wealthier and greener Scotland within the EU, far removed from the current economic turmoil of the United Kingdom.
People in Scotland have voted repeatedly in recent elections for a choice over their future. The UK Government should recognise and respect those democratic outcomes – just as they did in 2011 – and work with us to deliver on the mandate in the Scottish Parliament for a vote on independence.