The people of Scotland must think on whether they wish to be part of Europe or the United Kingdom, MSP Gil Paterson has warned.
He echoed comments made by Mike Russell MSP, the Cabinet Secretary for Government Business and Constitutional Relations, when he questioned him in the Scottish Parliament.
Mr Paterson asked for the cabinet secretary’s views on Boris Johnson’s decision not to grant a section 30 order in relation to allowing Scottish independence referendum.
In a follow up question, he asked how Scotland’s interests will be protected following the imminent departure from the European Union (EU).
Mr Paterson, MSP for Clydebank and Milngavie, said: “I was glad to raise this matter in parliament with the cabinet secretary because it is evident the people of Scotland want to be given the opportunity to decide its future.
“The truth is, Boris Johnson fears the Scottish people will vote for independence due to the extreme material changes the UK has now forced upon us against the wishes of the electorate.
“In all latest elections, Scotland has repeatedly backed European Union membership and expressed its will for a referendum. We need the opportunity to decide what path to take – the EU or a materially different UK ruled by a party we never, and are never likely to, support.
“I am sure all sides of this debate can agree Scotland is becoming a pressure cooker over the matter of independence and that a referendum would be the healthy option for this country to put the matter of self-governance to bed.”
In Holyrood, Mr Russell said: “I encourage the people of Scotland to think on that, to continue to support that position — as they are doing in increasing numbers — and to move forward so that they have the right to choose. That is the issue: do they wish to be part of the EU, as they have repeatedly said they do, or do they wish to be part of Boris Johnson’s bonging Brexit?”
Scottish Parliament portfolio questions official report from Wednesday January 22:
7. Gil Paterson (Clydebank and Milngavie) (SNP):
To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to the Prime Minister’s decision not to grant a section 30 order in relation to a second independence referendum. (S5O-04025)
The Cabinet Secretary for Government Business and Constitutional Relations (Michael Russell):
The rejection by the United Kingdom Government of the people of Scotland’s right to choose is further demonstration of the need for Scotland’s future to be put in Scotland’s hands. That is an utterly uncontroversial opinion.
We are keeping our options open for how to respond to the UK Government’s refusal to accept the mandate that was given to the Scottish Government by the people who live in Scotland. The First Minister will provide an update on the Government’s next steps shortly.
I am sure that the cabinet secretary will agree with me that the Prime Minister’s undemocratic rejection of Scotland’s right to choose is simply unsustainable. For the avoidance of any doubt, will the cabinet secretary outline what measures the Scottish Government is taking to protect Scotland’s interests ahead of our being dragged out of the European Union next week by a Tory Government that Scotland did not, and is likely never to, vote for?
There will be a range of events and announcements next week that are designed to draw attention to two things. The first is that Scotland did not vote to, and does not wish to, leave the EU. The second is that we wish to remain close to the EU so that we can re-enter it within the shortest period possible.
It is very significant that, from a week on Friday at 11 pm, the only route for regaining our European citizenship will be choosing independence and using that as the means of re-entering the EU. Other routes are blocked. The status quo finishes.
I encourage the people of Scotland to think on that, to continue to support that position—as they are doing in increasing numbers—and to move forward so that they have the right to choose. That is the issue: do they wish to be part of the EU, as they have repeatedly said they do, or do they wish to be part of Boris Johnson’s bonging Brexit?