SNP Government Publishes Referendums Bill


The SNP Government has published legislation to set the rules for any referendum within the competence of the Scottish Parliament.


The Referendums (Scotland) Bill will provide a legal framework for the holding of referendums on any matter within Scotland’s control. It is intended that the Bill will have completed its parliamentary progress by the end of this calendar year.


The Bill includes provision for the date, question and referendum period to be set by secondary legislation. For a referendum on independence, it is proposed that this would take place following a transfer of power, ensuring such a referendum could not be legally challenged.


The legislation will set the rules for any referendum held in Scotland, such as the electoral franchise and how campaigns will be regulated.


In line with the manifesto commitment this SNP Government was elected on, the First Minister is determined that Scotland will have the opportunity to choose to be an independent European nation within this Parliamentary term, which runs until April 2021.


Kenneth Gibson MSP commented:


“I have always been certain that the best way for Scotland to flourish is as an independent country, with a fully functioning democracy; running all our own economy; being empowered to make Scotland as fair as possible for all who live here and playing our part in the international community as a progressive, outward-looking nation.


“What has added to this conviction is that throughout the Brexit process, Scotland has been treated with contempt by Westminster. Scotland is not even mentioned in the 585 page Withdrawal Agreement and the SNP Government’s efforts to find compromise and protect the interests of the people of Scotland, have been ignored.


“Now, Scotland faces a choice between two very different futures. On one hand, being dragged out of the European Union and locked in to a hard Brexit with all the risks that will entail.


“On the other, Scotland choosing a different and better path. As an independent country, Scotland’s future will be in the hands of the people who live here, working in partnership with other nations.


“I have spoken to many people who have been unsure about independence in the past who now see how beneficial it would be for Scotland to be in charge of its own future.”


The Referendums (Scotland) Bill can be viewed here.


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