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Referendum on Independence

Volume 637: debated on Wednesday 7 March 2018

3. What recent discussions he has had with the Scottish Government on holding a further independence referendum. (904138)

Scotland held a referendum on Scottish independence in 2014—a “once in a generation” event, we were told—and the result was decisive. Now is not the time for a second independence referendum. Our entire focus should be on pulling together during negotiations with the European Union, making sure we get the best deal for the whole of the UK.

I entirely agree, but if by some chance the Scottish Government do manage to have another referendum, on leaving the single market and the customs union which they share with the rest of the United Kingdom, will my right hon. Friend show it more respect than they are currently showing to the 17.6 million people across the UK who voted for Brexit?

Not surprisingly, I agree with my hon. Friend. He will be particularly aware that 1 million people in Scotland—most of them SNP voters—who voted to leave the EU have been airbrushed out of history; they do not exist. If one listens to the our First Minister, apparently everybody in Scotland voted to remain in the EU.

Does the Secretary of State not think that, once we have clarity on what Brexit will really mean for the people of Scotland, it is right for them to decide their future, and that it is not for Westminster politicians to stop people making a decision?

We had an independence referendum in 2014. The outcome was decisive. We were told ahead of that referendum that it was to be a “once in a generation”—indeed, once in a lifetime—event, and that is what it should be.