Fri 21 Oct, 2016

It's becoming clear that Scotland may have to choose between the Brexit disaster zone Westminster is preparing for us or the fairer, more progressive society we could build with independence. Ross Greer MSP

Scottish Greens meeting at their conference in Perth today backed a call for Westminster to give Holyrood the power to call an independence referendum to protect Scotland's interests in Europe.

Members supported a motion put forward by Ross Greer MSP, the party's External Affairs spokesperson. 

The text of the condensed motion approved by conference read:

Scotland in Europe

Conference calls on the UK Government to, through use of a Section 30
order, grant the Scottish Parliament the ability to call a referendum
if it chooses to do so, given its mandate from the people of Scotland.

Conference endorses the work of the parliamentary group and their
advisors in exploring and scrutinising the options available to
continue Scotland’s status within the EU and in developing a set of
potential ‘red lines’ in the Brexit negotiation process which if
passed would trigger a second independence referendum.

Conference instructs Policy Committee to keep all policy relating to
Europe under review, and to bring proposals for change as soon as the
political context allows.

Conference recognises that the Elections and Campaigns Committee has
begun preparations for a campaign for independence, should it prove
necessary, and we endorse this approach as the clearest means of
keeping Scotland in Europe.

Ross Greer MSP said:

"It's becoming clear that Scotland may have to choose between the Brexit disaster zone Westminster is preparing for us or the fairer, more progressive society we could build with independence. Greens played a leading role in the 2014 referendum and we will continue to build the case for independence as a means of achieving a more just Scotland. It must remain an option on the table as the prospect of a damaging hard Brexit, driven by a bigoted Tory agenda, grows ever stronger.”

 

The full text of the motion submitted to conference was:

Conference notes the result of the European Union referendum held on June 23rd 2016, in which the UK as a whole voted by 52% to leave the EU but Scotland voted by 62% to remain. The Scottish Green Party stands by the arguments we put during the campaign, including the substantial benefit which membership has achieved in areas such as environmental protection, employment rights, equality and intergovernmental cooperation as well as the need for a more democratically accountable European Union. We condemn the dishonest, manipulative and often racist Leave campaign, not only during the formal referendum period but for years previously.
 
We also condemn the disregard shown by leading Leave campaigners for the consequences which have included economic harm, uncertainty for EU citizens currently living in the UK, and a wave of racist and xenophobic hate crime. We express particular concern for our neighbours in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, for whom the implications of an EU/non-EU border could have even more serious consequences.
 
We recognise that the UK government has accepted the obligation to begin negotiations with a view to leaving the European Union. We further recognise that the Scottish Government has an obligation to represent the interests of the people of Scotland, who have chosen to remain in the EU.
 
We agree that all options should be explored for protecting Scotland's status within the EU, and in particular we place importance on: • retaining the right of free movement, which we consider a positive achievement and not a burden to bear; • safeguarding the social, environmental and workplace rights and protections which have been won within the EU; • co-operation between European countries on shared priorities such as climate change, ending tax avoidance, promoting scientific research, and tackling extremism and criminal activity; • and ensuring that Scottish citizens have a democratic voice in the EU, which is of fundamental importance if we are to be bound by the rules of the single market.
 
We are conscious of the possibility that Scotland may be left with only one option for achieving the above, namely independence and full membership of the European Union and once again assert our belief that independence in Europe is the best way to achieve a fairer, greener and more progressive Scotland. We consider that the cause of Scotland in Europe must be an inherently outward-looking and internationalist one, and that in contrast with 2014 those opposing this course of action will be unable to portray membership of the UK as a safe, status quo option.
 
Conference endorses the work of the parliamentary group and their advisors in exploring and scrutinising the options available to continue Scotland's status within the EU and in developing a set of potential ‘red lines' in the Brexit negotiation process which if passed would trigger a second independence referendum.
 
Conference instructs Policy Committee to keep all policy relating to Europe under review, and to bring proposals for change as soon as the political context allows. Conference recognises that the Elections and Campaigns Committee has begun preparations for a campaign for independence, should it prove necessary, and we endorse this approach as the clearest means of keeping Scotland in Europe.

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