The Scottish Greens have called for EU citizens and 16 & 17 year olds to be allowed to vote in a second Scottish independent referendum. The call comes in an amendment to a motion tabled by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon who is seeking a mandate from the Scottish Parliament to request a Section 30 order from the UK Government.
Scottish Green Co-convenor Patrick Harvie, whose party is expected to back the Scottish Government motion, has tabled an amendment that would see the following text appended to the First Minister’s motion.
;believes that this gives people in Scotland a choice at a time when there is both the most information and most opportunity to act; further believes that 16 and 17-year-olds and EU citizens, who were excluded from the EU referendum, should be entitled to vote, and considers that this referendum is necessary given the Prime Minister’s decision to negotiate a hard exit from the EU, including leaving the single market, which conflicts with assurances given by the UK Government and prominent Leave campaigners, and which takes no account of the overwhelming Remain vote in Scotland.
The issue will be debate in the Scottish Parliament this week with the SNP led government expected to be joined by its Yes allies in the vote. Opposing the motion will be a coalition of the Scottish Conservatives, Scottish Labour and the Lib Dems.
Each of the three Unionist leaders have tabled their own amendments to the First Minister’s motion. However, with SNP MPs alone sufficient to outvote the combined Unionist bloc, the ‘Section 30’ motion is expected to carry easily.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May has already signalled she intends to reject any such request from the Scottish Parliament. Such a move will carry with it the risk that support for independence may increase if a London based Tory government is seen to be blocking the wishes of the democratically elected Scottish Parliament.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed her preference is for a second referendum to be held shortly after Brexit talks end but before the UK formally leaves the EU. The First Minister has set a window of opportunity for a second ballot between the Autumn of 2018 and Spring 2019.
The First Minister has also confirmed she is willing to discuss a suitable timetable with the Prime Minister, within reason.
The possibility of a second independence referendum arose after the EU referendum saw Scotland vote to remain a member of the EU, but the UK as a whole vote to leave. The SNP manifesto for the 2016 Scottish election listed this very scenario as a trigger for a second independence referendum.