Scottish pro-Europe capaign group launches

Professor Mona Siddiqui . Picture: GettyProfessor Mona Siddiqui . Picture: Getty
Professor Mona Siddiqui . Picture: Getty
The main pro-Europe campaign in Scotland has promised to make a 'positive, fact-based' case for continued membership of the European Union (EU).

The Scottish arm of Britain Stronger in Europe was branded “project cheer” at a launch event in Edinburgh, a marked counterpoint to the “project fear” moniker given to the No campaign during the Scottish independence referendum.

The 10-strong gender-balanced advisory board of Scotland Stronger In Europe is chaired by Professor Mona Siddiqui, professor of Islamic and inter-religious studies at Edinburgh University.

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It will also include Sir Harry Burns, former chief medical officer for Scotland, and Dame Anne Glover, who served as chief scientific adviser to the president of the European Commission and before that was the first chief scientific adviser for Scotland.

The launch took place shortly before a new poll found that 62% of people in Scotland would support remaining in Europe in the forthcoming referendum, compared to 26% who back leaving.

Prof Siddiqui said: “Staying in is the right choice for the sake of jobs, trade, investment, prices and security. Everyone knows that the EU isn’t perfect - but the gains of being in clearly outweigh the costs.

“The referendum result at UK level may well be extremely close and Scotland’s votes could make the difference in delivering a vote to stay.

“We know that support to remain in Europe crosses other Scottish political divides and therefore the Stronger In campaign can be a common platform for people to stand on in Scotland.

“By their very nature, referendums tend to be divisive, and that may be the case elsewhere in the UK. But in this referendum, Scotland has an opportunity to come together and lead the way in keeping the UK in Europe.”

John Edward, Scotland Stronger in Europe’s senior campaign spokesman, added: “Scotland Stronger In Europe is making a positive, fact-based case to remain in Europe.

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“We believe that is what will be most effective in mobilising the strong majority that exists in Scotland for the UK to stay in.

“There is big and broad support in Scotland to stay in Europe but we aren’t taking a single vote for granted.”

The advisory group also includes Matthew Anderson, vice president of Unicorn ARC (Applied Research Collaboration); Jayne-Anne Gadhia, chief executive of Virgin Money; John Loughton, chief executive of leadership development social enterprise Dare2Lead; Donald MacInnes, former chief executive of Scotland Europa; John Park, assistant general secretary at Community trade union; Vonnie Sandlan, president of NUS Scotland; and Professor Petra Wend, principal and vice-chancellor of Queen Margaret University.