SNP's Alyn Smith backs referendum on monarchy post independence

An MEP vying to be depute leader of the SNP has called for a referendum on the monarchy if Scotland becomes independent.

Alyn Smith backs a referendum on the monarchy if Scotland votes for independence. Picture: PA
Alyn Smith backs a referendum on the monarchy if Scotland votes for independence. Picture: PA

Alyn Smith said the people of Scotland should decide whether the nation continues as a monarchy or a republic in the event of independence.

In a live webchat on Reddit, Mr Smith was asked: “Where do you personally stand on monarchy versus republic?”

Sign up to our Politics newsletter

He replied: “I want to see the people of Scotland in charge of Scotland’s future, so once we regain independence I would be up for a referendum on the subject and the people will choose, but let’s do it after independence so we can have a proper debate about the subject in its own right.

“There are monarchies I like, and there are republics I like, so long as the people have chosen I’ll respect that choice.”

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has said another independence referendum is “highly likely” following the UK vote to leave the European Union against majority opinion in Scotland, and some polls have recorded a majority are now in favour of leaving the UK.

The SNP’s position on the monarchy has evolved over the years and there remains mixed views within the party.

SNP parliamentarians pledge “loyalty to the people of Scotland” ahead of their allegiance to the Queen when they are being sworn in.

In the early years of devolution in 2002, the SNP published a draft constitution for an independent Scotland, stating: “The SNP is committed to holding a referendum in the term of office of the first independent parliament of Scotland on whether to retain the monarchy.”

On the Queen’s 80th birthday in 2006, a year before the SNP was elected to government, Ms Sturgeon told MSPs: “There are many different views between the parties, and within them, inside and outside the parliament, on the future of the monarchy as an institution.

“In my view, that matter should ultimately be decided by the Scottish people.”

As deputy first minister in 2012, she told MSPs: “We live in - and, as far as the Government is concerned, when Scotland is independent we will continue to live in - a constitutional monarchy with a shared head of state.”

The following year, the Scottish Government’s white paper on independence stated: “Scotland will remain a constitutional monarchy with Her Majesty The Queen as head of state... if a party in favour of changing this position was to gain enough support to form a government, it would be open to it to propose a change.

“The current Scottish Government does not support such a change.”

Shortly after the 2016 Scottish election, former Europe minister Humza Yousaf said: “Most people in the SNP - it would hardly be a surprise to you - would at some point like to see our head of state elected.

“But for the purpose of independence we said we would keep the Queen as the head of state.”

Mr Yousaf was appointed Transport Minister in a Cabinet reshuffle the following week.