EU referendum: Scotland ‘crucial’ in outcome says Nick Clegg

Nick Clegg says Scottish voters can make the difference in EU referendum. Picture: Robert Perry
Nick Clegg says Scottish voters can make the difference in EU referendum. Picture: Robert Perry
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SCOTLAND has the opportunity to lead the European Union referendum debate over the final week of campaigning, according to former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg.

The Liberal Democrat MP said Scottish votes could make “a crucial difference” to the outcome of the 23 June referendum as he urged Remain voters to make their voices heard.

Speaking ahead of a pro-EU rally in Edinburgh, appearing alongside Scottish party leader Willie Rennie and Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale, Mr Clegg said: “This referendum is too important to be reduced to a squabble between a handful of Conservatives who went to school together.

“Scotland has a proud internationalist tradition. Just as I believe that the UK should be a leader in the EU, I think Scotland has an opportunity to lead the referendum debate within the UK over the final week of the campaign.

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“This is a UK-wide referendum and a Remain vote in Edinburgh or Glasgow is worth every bit as much as a vote in Hampshire or in my constituency in Sheffield.

“This is shaping up to be a knife-edge result and Scotland can make the difference.”

Mr Clegg’s intervention comes as a new poll shows that while Remain is still ahead in Scotland, support for staying in the EU appears to have dipped north of the border as the ballot draws nearer.

The event in Edinburgh today is being hosted by the European Movement in Scotland.

In her address to the rally, Ms Dugdale is expected to say: “You don’t have to love the EU. You don’t have to be happy about everything about Europe. But you do have to know that this is on a knife-edge.

“Your vote, your individual vote, can make the difference between remaining part of a union that is essential for jobs, economic growth and the funding of public services, or your vote could be the one that sees us cast off alone in the world.”

Meanwhile, Scottish Vote Leave campaigners will be holding their own rally in Glasgow. where Labour MP and chairwoman of the Vote Leave campaign Gisela Stuart is due to speak.

Ahead of the event, Ms Stuart said: “Scotland has a bright future outside the European Union. A Scottish Parliament with more powers, a Scottish budget with more funding, all within a UK which has control over our borders.

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“If we left the European Union, powers over fishing, agriculture and important social and environmental powers would automatically be devolved to the Scottish Parliament. The Scotland Act states that any power that is not listed as reserved automatically becomes the remit of the Scottish Parliament.”

The Scotsman’s EU Referendum page: Keep up to date with latest news, polls and features.