Unlike the Scottish referendum, the EU Bill as it stands would not allow most EU nationals living and working in the UK to vote, or 16 and 17 year olds. The Bill also threatens to force Scotland out of the EU against its will.
SNP MPs have lodged a reasoned amendment on the Bill on its failure to meet standards "in terms of inclusivity and democratic participation," while the party is calling on opposition parties to back up their rhetoric of the UK as a ‘family of nations’ – and ensure that Scotland’s voice is heard in the upcoming referendum. The amendment is to be supported by Plaid Cymru and the SDLP.
And during a debate in the Scottish Parliament this afternoon, SNP MSPs will challenge Labour and the Lib Dems to back the First Minister’s plan for a double-majority to ensure Scotland cannot be ripped out of the EU against its will.
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.”
SNP Westminster spokesperson on Europe, Stephen Gethins MP said:
“The EU referendum Bill clearly fails to meet the gold standard set by the independence referendum in Scotland.
“Scotland’s independence referendum was an exercise in democracy that aimed, and succeeded in, getting as many people as possible involved. However, this legislation as it stands limits the voting franchise – the vast majority of EU nationals living in the UK will be unable to vote, likewise 16 and 17 year olds. Surely it is the electorate who should choose the politicians, and not the other way round?
“The SNP will provide a distinctly Scottish voice in the EU referendum debate - and we will have a positive campaign about Scotland’s role and place in the EU and the European family of nations.”
MSPs in the Scottish Parliament will today debate a motion which calls for the referendum to meet the ‘gold standard’ set by the independence referendum – and ensure the right to vote includes 16 and 17 year olds, as well as EU nationals.
SNP MSP Christina McKelvie – who will speak in the Scottish Parliament debate today - said:
“Throughout the referendum campaign, Labour and the Lib Dems joined the Tories in the No campaign and told us that Scotland was a valued part of the UK ‘family of nations’ – it’s now time for them to back up their warm words with firm actions and support this common sense plan to stop Scotland being ripped out of the EU against our will.
“Last week, Welsh Labour leader and First Minister Carwyn Jones said he would be concerned of the effect on Wales if there was a vote to leave the EU but Wales voted to stay. It is time for Labour and the Lib Dems in Scotland to back our amendment and do what they can to prevent this from happening.
“A Brexit would have a grave impact on jobs and the economy in Scotland – and would send entirely the wrong message about our place in the world. For Scotland to be taken out of the EU if we vote to stay in would be democratically indefensible – and it’s time for Labour and the Lib Dems to put their money where their mouth is on their ‘family of nations’ rhetoric.”