EU Referendum Bill is an "affront to democracy", Gavin says
Gavin Newlands, the Member of Parliament for Paisley and Renfrewshire North has today said that the EU Referendum Bill proposed by the UK Government is ‘an affront to democracy’, as it fails to meet the gold standard set by the independence referendum in Scotland last year.
Mr Newlands has hit out after the UK Government has persistently refused to change tack. The EU Bill, unlike Scotland’s referendum on independence, will bar most EU nationals who live and work in the UK from voting in the EU referendum, and will not extend the franchise to 16 and 17 year olds.
The EU Referendum Bill – in its current form – threatens to force Scotland out of the European Union against the will of the Scottish people, as the UK Government have refused to enshrine in the bill a requirement for all four nations to vote to leave the EU for a ‘No’ vote in the EU referendum to be honoured.
The SNP has lodged a reasoned amendment to the EU Referendum Bill on its failure to meet standards “in terms of inclusivity and democratic participation”, and is calling on opposition parties to back up their rhetoric of the UK as a ‘family of nations’ by ensuring that Scotland’s voice is heard in the upcoming referendum. The SNP’s amendment is supported by Plaid Cymru and the SDLP.
Last week, Welsh Labour leader and First Minister Carwyn Jones and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon signed a joint statement which said: “Any decision to leave the EU, taken against the wishes of the people of Wales or Scotland, would be unacceptable and steps must be taken to ensure this does not happen.”
Gavin Newlands, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North said:
“The EU Referendum Bill proposed by the UK Government is an affront to democracy as it fails to meet the gold standard set by Scotland’s referendum on independence last year – it bars most EU nationals who live and work in the UK from voting; it refuses to extend the franchise to 16 and 17-year-olds; and threatens to rip Scotland out of the EU against our wishes.
“Our Independence Referendum last year was inclusive, passionate and robust. Scotland’s constitutional future was in the hands of all of the people who lived and worked in Scotland – extending the franchise to EU nationals living here, as well as 16 and 17-year-olds. In doing, our debate and democracy was enriched.
“The EU Referendum Bill also fails to safeguard against Scotland being dragged out of the EU against the wishes of the Scottish people. The UK was widely mooted as a ‘family of nations’ by unionist politicians during the independence referendum – they now must make their rhetoric a reality by ensuring that the decision to leave the EU is taken together.
“If the ‘No’ campaign in the EU referendum cannot secure a majority of support in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the UK should remain in the European Union – failure to implement this safeguard would be democratically indefensible."