‘Brexit means independence’: SNP conference to debate #ScotlandInEurope 

Motion urges second referendum if independence required to protect place in Europe

THE SNP AUTUMN CONFERENCE WILL debate the impact of Brexit and the prospect of a second independence referendum. 

A motion from the Edinburgh Western branch was accepted in the SNP’s 2016 conference agenda, seen by CommonSpace, called ‘Scotland’s place in Europe’. It asserts that a second referendum should take place, if required, to protect Scotland’s membership of the European Union. 

Going before the conference on Friday 14th October, the motion states: “If no viable solution to safeguard our membership as part of the UK exists, Scotland should prepare for a second independence referendum and seek to remain in Europe as an independent country.”

Every electoral area of Scotland voted to remain in the EU, including 62 per cent of the total electorate. The UK as a whole voted to leave the EU by a majority of 52 per cent.

Since the referendum, four of Scotland’s five main parties united to seek all options possible to maintain membership of the EU. 

“Brexit has changed the dynamics of Scottish politics - now is the time to put independence back on the table and I'm delighted it's back on the agenda at our annual conference.” Toni Giugliano, Edinburgh Western SNP

However, three months on, following a series of diplomatic meetings in Scotland and across Europe, it remains unclear whether Scotland could maintain some form of ‘status’ in the EU without independence. 

Toni Giugliano, a former SNP parliamentary candidate involved in the motion, told CommonSpace: “Brexit has changed the dynamics of Scottish politics - now is the time to put independence back on the table and I'm delighted it's back on the agenda at our annual conference.

“We have a real opportunity to win over people who had never considered independence before. But it can't be a re-run of 2014 - the starting point is our place in the world and our democratic right to be heard. 

“It's not until Brexit becomes a reality that it will start to sink in - when businesses prioritise the continent and jobs relocate, when EU funding for projects dries up, when farmers get less than they did under the Common Agricultural Policy (Cap), when university funding is cut, when our right to free movement is scrapped - that's when people will realise what has happened and that's when independence must be a viable alternative. 

“The resolution is also an opportunity to reassure EU nationals that Scotland is their home and that we'll do everything we can to stand by them. As someone who moved to Scotland from another EU country at a very young age, I know how important this is to a lot of people who are being used as bargaining chips by Theresa May's government.”

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The Scottish Government has begun a consultation on a second referendum, while the UK Government has delayed the start of negotiations with Brussels three times. It remains unclear when negotiations between the UK and Brussels will begin or what the Westminster Government seeks to negotiate. 

Prime Minister Theresa May has repeated the slogan “Brexit means Brexit” on numerous occasions since the referendum, but no concrete policy on the nature of the split has yet been produced. 

The SNP conference takes place from Thursday 13th to Saturday 15th of October at Glasgow’s SECC. 

Picture courtesy of BBC News Channel 

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