A SCOTTISH Government motion calling for Holyrood to have the power to hold another independence vote has been backed by MSPs.
Holyrood’s pro-independence majority voted in favor of the proposal, arguing “a referendum should be held so that the people of Scotland can decide whether they wish it to become an independent country”.
The Scottish Government has proposed a new plebiscite should happen later this year, but would need to acquire powers from Westminster to hold a referendum – something Prime Minister Boris Johnson has vowed to block.
MSPs voted by 64 to 54 in favor of the Government’s motion, with no abstentions. Conservative, Labour and LibDem amendments were all voted down.
During the debate, the First Minister said a second vote on independence is necessary to protect Scotland from the consequences of a Conservative Government and Brexit.
Two days before the UK leaves the European Union, Nicola Sturgeon said independence is now the only realistic way that Scotland can be part of Europe, urging MSPs to back the motion.
As she warned of the consequences of both Brexit and a Johnson-led government for Scotland, she said: “Given what the Tories have in store, proposing a further decision on independence isn’t simply legitimate – it is necessary.”
She also hit out at UK Government ministers, accusing them of being “completely deaf to Scotland’s interests, needs and voice”, and adding that their vision for the UK is “driven on the part of some by jingoism and xenophobia”.
Independence, she argued, would give Scotland an escape route.
She insisted Brexit is an “affront to democracy”, after almost two-thirds of voters in Scotland backed Remain in 2016.
The First Minister said: “We stand just two days from losing our EU membership and all of the rights that go with it.
“In my view it is beyond doubt now that the only realistic way for Scotland to return to the heart of Europe and to ensure we get the governments we vote for is to become an independent country.
“What should be beyond any democratic argument, in light of the material change in circumstances that Brexit represents, is that it must be Scotland’s choice to make. And it must be for this Parliament, not Westminster, to determine when and on what basis an independence referendum should take place.”
She hit out at the Tories, Labour and the LibDems for their opposition to a second ballot, saying: “It is hard to escape the conclusion that it is their fear of the choice Scotland would make on the substantive question that is driving the anti-democratic position of the opposition parties.
“It is only ever parties that know their arguments are bust that have to resort to blocking democracy. I know not everyone agrees with my position on independence, but I am happy to have that debate and let Scotland decide.”
Opposition leaders accused her of a “contemptuous use of power” for debating independence rather than education, policing or the health service. But Green co-leader Patrick Harvie (inset) backed the First Minister, saying: “Scotland is not being given the respect for that claim of right, that sovereignty that was given to the people, and the only way to change that is for Scotland – the people who live here – to be given the right to make that decision for themselves again.”
Speaking after the vote, Constitutional Relations Secretary Michael Russell said: “Today we have seen a clear endorsement of the mandate the people have given us: to put the question of Scotland’s future back to them in a new public vote. A referendum should now be held so that the people can decide if Scotland should be an independent country.”
Kathleen Nutt, Journalist