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Sturgeon says SNP will back new Brexit referendum

Category: Political News,Politics

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has said her MPs would back a new Brexit referendum if there is a vote to approve one in parliament.

The Scottish politician’s backing to give the British people a final say on the outcome of Brexit is a major boost for those pushing for a new referendum, with Labour also having signalled backing for the move last month.

Ms Sturgeon said she would seek assurances however, that Scotland could not end up in a position again where it had voted to remain in the EU but was being forced to leave, indicating the party may tie support to a new independence vote.

The Independent has launched its own campaign to win the British people a Final Say on Brexit through a People’s Vote referendum on whatever the outcome of negotiations is, with more than 850,000 people having signed the petition so far.

Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show as the SNP’s conference kicks off in Glasgow, Ms Sturgeon said: “I think in most circumstances MPs of all parties, sensible MPs of all parties, should come together and look at the alternatives.

“No doubt the calls for a second referendum would grow in those circumstances. I’ve said before we’d not stand in the way of a second referendum, a so-called People’s Vote, I think the SNP MPs would undoubtedly vote for it.” 

She went on to say that the party would want to talk to allies about how Scotland would avoid finding itself in a position where the outcome of a new referendum forced it to leave the EU, regardless of whether Scottish voters had backed such a move.

It came after the Westminster leader of the SNP, Ian Blackford, said Scotland must have the right to vote on independence for a second time should there be a similar renewed vote on Brexit.

Mr Blackford said the country should not be forced into accepting the result of any second Brexit referendum should Scotland again vote to remain but the majority of the UK vote to leave.

Nearly 52 per cent of those voting in the UK cast their ballot to leave in the 2016 referendum, but all 32 voting areas in Scotland had a majority for remain.

Mr Blackford told The Observer: “We have to have the protection of knowing that if the UK has a second vote [on Brexit] and we end up in the same situation as we had in 2016, we would be able to determine our own future.

“That would be only right and proper. There has to be the right for Scotland to call a second referendum on independence.”

Theresa May lambastes a ‘people’s vote’, saying people already had their Brexit vote in 2016

A YouGov poll of the SNP’s members showed on Sunday that an overwhelming majority not only support a People’s Vote on the outcome of Brexit negotiations, but also want the party’s 35 MPs in Westminster to give their positive backing for such a proposal.

The poll shows that the party’s grassroots would support staying in, rather than leaving the European Union, by a margin of 93 to 7 per cent, excluding “don’t knows”, if they were given the chance.

A spokeswoman for the People’s Vote campaign said: “There is growing support in every part of the UK to give voters the democratic opportunity to cancel Brexit, and the SNP and people of Scotland have a crucial role to play to cleaning up a mess that is not of their making.

“On this crucial issue Nicola Sturgeon is showing she is a political leaders who listens to her voters – who back a People’s Vote by a margin of more than four to one – and also her party’s members who are shown by our poll today to support giving the public a final say by an even bigger margin.

Labour said at its conference that it would campaign for a new referendum if Ms May’s Brexit plans are rejected either by parliament or the EU and there is no chance of a general election.

There is still a battle to be fought in Jeremy Corbyn’s party, however, over whether any new vote should include an option to stay in the EU or not.

Both John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, and Unite union leader Len McCluskey have said they do not think it should, raising concerns that it might push Leave-backing Labour voters towards the Conservatives.

The Independent has launched its #FinalSay campaign to demand that voters are given a voice on the final Brexit deal.

Sign our petition here

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