Scotland United: Parliament backs negotiations to keep Scotland in the EU 

Cross-party unity for motion to seek negotiations with Europe to respect referendum result

THE SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT has overwhelmingly supported plans to keep Scotland in the European Union.

92 MSPs - from the SNP, Labour, Scottish Greens and Liberal Democrats - came together to support Scottish negotiators in their early attempts to reach out to European partners to respect the referendum result in Scotland. 

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon set out a programme to begin reaching out to the EU institutions, and other member states. Sturgeon will now travel to Brussels tomorrow [Wednesday 29 June] to meet senior figures from the European Parliament. 

The outcome of the vote, with only the Tories abstaining on the plan, means Scotland has its own active independent foreign policy initiative with Europe for the first time in over 300 years. 

Following the debate, SNP MSP Joan McAlpine said: “Last week, the people of Scotland made their voice heard in no uncertain terms – and I am delighted that today, the Scottish Parliament united behind the first minister to make clear that their decision should be respected.”

“Today, our national Parliament spoke with a strong and united voice – making absolutely clear that Scotland’s vote must be respected and Scotland’s place in Europe must be protected. 

“In doing so, the First Minister has made clear that no option is off the table – and the SNP in government will do everything we can to ensure that Scotland maintains its place in the European family of nations, rather than being dragged out against our will by a right-wing Tory party which now finds itself in complete disarray,” she finished. 

The government has established an expert council to advise the government on the process ahead. Meetings with ambassadors have already taken place, and many major European figures have sent messages of support to Scotland.

Full speech: Nicola Sturgeon sets out plan to keep Scotland in the European Union

Scottish Green MSP Ross Greer announced in the debate that the European Green movement, represented in the European Parliament, is supportive of keeping Scotland in the EU.

“We are European, and we are staying European,” Green co-convener Patrick Harvie told the chamber. 

Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie conceded that there has been a “surge in support for independence” as a result of the EU exit vote - but promised to fight on for membership of the EU. 

The Conservatives were alone in failing to support the government’s position. Tory MSPs attacked the prospect of independence, and argued that Scotland’s government should join the Leave negotiations. 

Scottish National Party and Scottish Green MSPs defeated the Tory amendment by 68 votes to 31.

Picture courtesy of BBC Parliament Live

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