Nicola Sturgeon today declared that she would expect the SNP’s 35 MPs in Westminster to back the demand from across the UK for a People’s Vote on the outcome of Brexit negotiations.
The First Minister’s comments on BBC1’s Andrew Marr programme will help clarify the position of the SNP whose voters and members have overwhelmingly backed the call for a democratic public vote before any final decision is taken to leave the European Union.
Appearing on The Andrew Marr Show, Nicola Sturgeon said:
“The important point here is that the country, Scotland or the UK as a whole, can’t find itself in the situation where it’s a really bad outcome or a worse outcome. There has to be space for common-sense and calm consideration of the best outcome.
“[If there is a vote in the House of Commons on a People’s Vote on Brexit] I would expect the SNP MPs to vote for that if it comes to a vote in the House of Commons.”
A spokesperson for the People’s Vote campaign said:
“There is growing support in every part of the UK to give voters the democratic opportunity to cancel Brexit, and the SNP and people of Scotland have a crucial role to play to cleaning up a mess that is not of their making.
“On this crucial issue Nicola Sturgeon is showing she is a political leaders who listens to her voters – who back a People’s Vote by a margin of more than four to one – and also her party’s members who are shown by our poll today to support giving the public a final say by an even bigger margin.
“These poll findings are extremely encouraging, because a People’s Vote is an opportunity for Scotland’s clear desire to remain part of the European family of nations to be respected, by achieving a positive vote south as well as north of the border.
“Regardless of Scotland’s constitutional future – and the People’s Vote campaign has no view one way or another on that important question – a People’s Vote offers us all a chance to keep Scotland, and the rest of the UK, in the EU now. As the vast majority of people in Scotland know, that is vital for jobs, investment, public services, citizens’ and workers’ rights and environmental protection.
“Our campaign hopes that by working with members of all parties and none, we can exit Brexit and achieve the European future that the people of Scotland want, regardless of their differences on other issues.”
A YouGov poll of the SNP’s members today shows that an overwhelming majority not only support a People’s Vote on the outcome of Brexit negotiations – but also want the party’s 35 MPs in Westminster to give their positive backing for such a proposal.
The poll shows that the party’s grassroots would support staying in, rather than leaving the European Union, by a margin of 93 to 7 per cent (excluding “don’t knows”) if they were given the chance.
A similar proportion – 89 to 11 per cent - back having a new public vote on the outcome of Brexit negotiations, according to the survey of 655 party members which was conducted last week ahead of the SNP’s annual conference which begins in Glasgow today.
But the chances of getting a People’s Vote may hang on whether the SNP uses its muscle in Westminster to back such a proposal when the crunch point on Brexit comes.
Asked what SNP MPs should do if faced with a People’s Vote amendment to Brexit legislation in the Westminster parliament, a total of 79 per cent of the party’s membership say they should support it. Just 8 per cent want MPs to oppose the measure and a mere 13 per cent say SNP to abstain.
The poll, which was commissioned by the People’s Vote campaign but conducted independently by YouGov, also shows that 84 per cent of party members want the SNP’s MPs to oppose any Brexit proposal brought forward by the Government. The poll showed no less than 98 per cent of SNP members believe Theresa May’s Government is ignoring Scotland’s concerns about Brexit and 93 per cent believe the UK will not get a good deal.
Today’s survey also shows deep pessimism about the prospects for Scotland if it is forced to leave the European Union with members saying Brexit will be
- Bad for Scottish jobs by 89 to 4 per cent
- Bad for Scottish business by 90 to 3 per cent
- Bad for Scottish fishing fleets by 75 to 9 per cent
- Bad for Scottish farmers by 88 to 5 per cent
- Bad for Scottish schools and the NHS by 84 to 3 per cent
- Bad for protecting unique Scottish products by 82 to 10 per cent
Peter Kellner of the UK’s most respected pollsters and a past president of YouGov, said:
“The results could scarcely be more emphatic. Ahead of the SNP’s conference, its members say their MPs should support an amendment to the Withdrawal Bill ‘to make sure there is a new public vote on Brexit before the UK leaves the EU’. There had been some talk of SNP MPs abstaining on this issue; but this option is backed by only 13 per cent of party members.
“SNP members’ attitudes are driven by their near-unanimous view that the UK should remain in the EU. The contrast with the 1975 referendum could scarcely be greater. Then the SNP joined the campaign to withdraw the UK from the Common Market, arguing that membership was draining even more power from Scotland, which would end up ‘on the periphery of the periphery’. Today, SNP members are fully behind the concept of Scotland as a fully-fledged member of the European family; hence their support for EU membership, and the chance of a referendum to maintain that membership.
“Nor is it just a matter of Scottish identity and national ambition. SNP members fear that Brexit would have terrible consequences for Scottish families. In overwhelming numbers they think that Brexit would cause taxes to rise, living standards to fall and the NHS to deteriorate. Leave campaigners say that at least one Scottish industry, fishing, would flourish under Brexit. SNP members disagree. By eight-to-one, they think life outside the EU would be bad, not good, for Scottish fishing fleets.”
Notes to Editors:
The video of Nicola Sturgeon’s comments can be viewed here: https://twitter.com/peoplesvote_uk/status/1048875737200185344
The full tables for the polling data are attached.