Commenting on the publication of the motion on a Section 30 order to be debated by MSPs this week, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:
“The Scottish Parliament will be asked this week to support a motion to give the people of Scotland a choice over their future – once the terms of Brexit are clear, but before it is too late to change course.
“If MSPs pass this motion this week, then the Prime Minister’s position of blocking a referendum and forcing through a hard Brexit without giving the people a choice will be democratically indefensible.
“The sovereign right of the people of Scotland to determine the form of government best suited to their needs is a longstanding and widely-accepted principle.
“Brexit will fundamentally change the form of government in Scotland – a change that Scotland opposed. The people of Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the European Union, yet we now face being dragged out of Europe – and the single market – against our will.
“A hard Brexit threatens huge economic and social damage to Scotland, and the people must have the opportunity to choose a different, better path.
“I agree with the Prime Minister when she says that there needs to be clarity about the implications of Brexit before the people of Scotland can choose – that is precisely why we are proposing to hold the vote at the point where we know, through the Prime Minister’s own statements, we will have that clarity.
“A clear precedent was set in 2012 when the UK government said that the 2014 referendum should be ‘made in Scotland, by the people of Scotland’ – that is the principle that they must again hold to.
“Ultimately, this crucial decision over our future should not be made unilaterally by me, or by the Prime Minister – it should be made by the people of Scotland, and I call on Parliament to give the people that choice.”
The text of the motion reads:
That the Parliament acknowledges the sovereign right of the Scottish people to determine the form of government best suited to their needs and therefore mandates the Scottish Government to take forward discussions with the UK Government on the details of an order under section 30 of the Scotland Act 1998 to ensure that the Scottish Parliament can legislate for a referendum to be held that will give the people of Scotland a choice over the future direction and governance of their country at a time, and with a question and franchise, determined by the Scottish Parliament, which would most appropriately be between the autumn of next year, 2018, when there is clarity over the outcome of the Brexit negotiations and around the point at which the UK leaves the EU in spring 2019.