UK News

Brexit will trigger new Scottish independence vote says Alex Salmond

Former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond
By Mark McLaughlin, Political Reporter, Press Association Scotland

There will be another Scottish independence referendum if there is a majority vote at Holyrood, according to Alex Salmond.

The former first minister said his successor Nicola Sturgeon has "a democratic mandate" to propose another referendum if there is a "material change in circumstances", such as Scotland being taken out of the European Union.

But Eurosceptic Conservative MP Iain Duncan Smith insisted Scots do not want "another never ending referendum in Scotland every time something changes", during a head-to-head debate with Mr Salmond on LBC Radio.

Mr Duncan Smith said he does not believe Brexit will lead to the break up of the UK.

"The Scots people had a vote on whether to be part of the UK or not," he said. "They voted by a reasonable margin, I would consider that a convincing margin if the same result was on whether to leave or stay in the EU.

"I think Alex and others said this was a once in a generation vote - in other words if you don't win this vote this time it's off the table.

"So my view is that same goes for the EU vote - this is a once in a generation thing.

"I hope and believe, and I have friends who live up there, that they don't want another never ending referendum in Scotland every time something changes."

Mr Salmond said: "Two years ago the No side in the Scottish referendum said if we voted Yes it would jeopardise our place in the EU. It sounds ironic now, but that's what they said.

"Clearly that's a change in material circumstances if that came about, that Scotland voted to Remain and England voted out and Scotland was pulled out against our will.

"Secondly, there is the democratic mandate.

"Nicola Sturgeon made this quite clear last year in the general election, and the result was the SNP got 56 out of 59 seats and again in the Scottish election when the SNP got 47 per cent and an overwhelming mandate.

"Now if there is a majority in the Scots parliament to have another independence vote, then another independence vote there shall be."

The SNP was reduced to a minority in Holyrood at the Scottish election in May but the pro-independence Scottish Greens returned six MSPs, bolstering the pro-independence ranks to a majority.

The SNP did not explicitly propose another referendum in either its 2015 general election manifesto or its 2016 Holyrood manifesto, but the Scottish Greens proposed a petition which would allow "an appropriate number of voters" to trigger a second vote on Scotland's membership of the UK.

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

UK News