SNP criticise UK Government EU Referendum Bill

THE UK Government’s proposals for the in/out referendum on Europe fail to meet the standards required, the External Affairs Secretary has said.

Fiona Hyslop says the Bill 'fails to meet the standards required'. Picture: Andrew O'Brien

The Scottish Government wants the Referendum Bill, which sets out the terms of the vote, to include a “double majority” where the result would only be valid if all four nations of the UK voted to leave.

It also wants 16 and 17-year-olds to be allowed to vote, alongside EU citizens who live in the UK.

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The UK Government says the referendum will use an adapted general election franchise, which will exclude non-Commonwealth EU citizens living in the UK.

The legislation is currently being debated at Westminster.

Speaking ahead of her appearance at Holyrood’s Europe Committee today, Fiona Hyslop said: “The Scottish Government believes the Referendum Bill, currently being debated in Westminster, fails to meet the standards required.

“We will continue to argue that double majority voting should apply to this referendum.

“It cannot be right that if Scotland votes in favour of remaining in the EU, it could still be dragged out against its will.

“We will also continue to argue for the extension of the franchise to 16 and 17-year-olds for this referendum.

“This group took part in the independence referendum debate as mature, conscientious citizens and deserve to have a say in their future. The vote should also be given to all the 171,000 EU citizens who have chosen to make Scotland their home.

“It is vital that Scotland’s voice is heard in negotiations on the UK’s membership of the EU and that Scotland’s interests are protected.

“The Scottish Government will continue to make the positive case for the UK and Scotland’s continued membership of the EU.”