The SNP is today calling for all UK parties which support European Union membership to back Nicola Sturgeon’s plans to require all four UK nations to vote for withdrawal before the UK could leave – after it emerged that David Cameron is considering moving forward his planned in/out referendum to 2016. As reported in yesterday’s Sunday Times, officials in Downing Street are preparing for a referendum earlier than scheduled – and one UK Government minister has said that Mr Cameron is “likely to go early” with a 2016 referendum considered to be “the preferred route.”
The First Minister’s plans were backed by Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood in an interview on Sky's Murnaghan programme yesterday and have previously been described as “worth considering” by the Labour First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones. A YouGov poll carried out in Scotland this week showed 52 per cent support for remaining in the EU – compared to just 29 per cent support for leaving.
Commenting, SNP MSP Christina McKelvie said: "These new revelations are a worrying example of the Tories’ obsession with an EU exit referendum - making it more urgent than ever for a safeguard to ensure that Scotland cannot be dragged out of Europe against our will. For the UK to quit the European Union against the wishes of the people of Scotland would be completely unacceptable. This is exactly why Nicola Sturgeon has been right in calling for any future referendum to require all four nations in the UK to vote for an exit before the UK could pull out of Europe."
Continuing Ms McKelvie said: "This common-sense plan already has the backing of Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood, and has been described as ‘worth considering’ by the First Minister of Wales – and with David Cameron upping the stakes with his plan to bring forward his in/out referendum, it is now more urgent than ever that people and parties across the UK who support retaining our place in Europe to do the same.Polls consistently show that people in Scotland want to continue working in partnership with our friends and allies in the EU – and if we truly are the ‘family of nations’ that Westminster politicians told us during the referendum campaign, they should back these plans to ensure that Scotland isn’t ripped out of the EU against our will."
"A strong team of SNP MPs elected in May will always ensure that Scotland’s voice isn’t drowned out by the Euro-hostility inspired by UKIP at Westminster – and would stand up against the democratically indefensible idea of Scotland being dragged out of the EU against the wishes of people living here." Christina McKelvie added.