The current Scottish Government was elected with a clear mandate that the Scottish Parliament should have the right to hold an independence referendum if there was clear and sustained evidence that independence had become the preferred option of a majority of the Scottish people – or if there was a significant and material change in the circumstances that prevailed in 2014, such as Scotland being taken out of the EU against our will.
Given Scotland’s strong and unequivocal vote to remain in the EU, Scotland is now faced with one of the specific scenarios in which this government pledged that the Scottish Parliament should have the right to hold an independence referendum.
Why We Are Consulting
As announced in September 2016 in A Plan For Scotland: The Scottish Government's Programme For Scotland 2016-17, the Scottish Government is publishing for consultation a draft Referendum bill in order that it is ready for introduction should the Scottish Government conclude that seeking the view of the Scottish people on independence is the best or only way to protect Scotland’s interests in the wake of the EU referendum. It would be for the Scottish Parliament to consider the bill and decide whether a referendum should be held.
This consultation paper invites views on the proposals for how the referendum would be run. A draft Scottish Independence Referendum bill is set out as an appendix to the document.