Tom Arthur MSP has welcomed First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s statement outlining the steps the Scottish Government will take to progress the debate on Scotland’s future in light of Brexit. The statement, delivered on Wednesday 24 April, also included the action that will be taken to protect the option for an independence referendum to be held within the current term of the Scottish Parliament.
Acknowledging and respecting the fact that not all MSPs support independence, the First Minister proposed cross-party talks to discuss which powers other parties believe should be transferred to the Scottish Parliament to enable it to better protect Scotland’s economic and social interests.
She also confirmed plans to establish a Citizens’ Assembly to bring together a representative cross-section of Scottish society under an independent chair and seek views on how best to equip Scotland’s Parliament for the challenges of the future, in light of Brexit.
The First Minister made clear that the Scottish Government will act now to protect and progress the option for an independence referendum to be held by introducing a framework Bill, which will set the rules and principles for any referendum.
Once the Bill is passed, it would only require the transfer of power from Westminster at a later date via a Section 30 Order to proceed to a vote on independence.
This announcement comes as Brexit chaos continues in London, and signifies the Scottish Government’s intention to move forward to protect Scotland as best it can.
Speaking on Politics Scotland after the announcement, Tom Arthur MSP said:
“What we have heard again and again is Theresa May saying “now is not the time”, but it’s clear that time is running out for Theresa May. We don’t know what government we are going to have in the UK in 6 days’ time, never mind in 6 months.
“As we have seen over the past 3 years, the public attitude towards Brexit is resulting in a shift towards independence and I believe that, as more and more people move towards supporting independence, it will become an unsustainable position for the UK government to continue to ignore that.
“I think, ultimately, if Scotland is dragged out of the European Union against its will before 2021 and clarity emerges, I think the demand for a referendum in Scotland will be overwhelming. The UK government may say “We, the government, say no”, but the people of Scotland reply “We are the people, and we say yes”.”