Public urged to respond to draft indyref2 bill consultation

The Scottish Government has called on the public to have their say on a draft bill on a second independence referendum.

Derek Mackay is urging Scots to have their say on the draft referendum bill consultation. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL

Constitution secretary Derek Mackay said the option of independence “must stay on the table” in the wake of Brexit, as he urged people to respond to a consultation which closes on January 11.

The consultation was launched in October and discusses how any future vote would be conducted.

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Mr Mackay said: “The EU referendum result is the biggest threat in modern times to our long-term economic well-being and leaving the EU could affect Scottish jobs, investment and standards of living.

“Scotland’s Place in Europe, published last month, set out proposals to protect Scotland’s place in, and relationship with, Europe, However a material constitutional change has occurred since 2014 and the option of independence must stay on the table.

“Any decision on holding a referendum is for the Scottish Parliament. Our intention is that the Bill is ready for introduction should the Scottish Government decide that a referendum on independence is the best or only way to protect Scotland’s interests.

“It is important that any future referendum on independence would meet the gold standard in terms of fairness, transparency and propriety set by the one in 2014 - and I’d encourage anyone with an interest to give us their views before the consultation closes next week.”

A recent newspaper poll found that when those who are unsure are excluded, 61.5 per cent are against holding a fresh vote in 2017, compared to 38.5 per cent who support it.

Scottish Conservative constitution spokesman Adam Tomkins MSP said: “The SNP got all the feedback it needed in September 2014. The people of Scotland voted decisively to stay part of the UK.

“This attempt at a re-run from the nationalists is desperate, and risks causing even further uncertainty across the country for workers and businesses.

“Repeated polls have now shown a majority do not want a second vote on this. It’s time Nicola Sturgeon respected that.”