Let me be clear: nobody, not me, not anyone, is expecting the SNP to give up on independence. That is what it believes in and it is a perfectly honourable position to take.
– Ruth Davidson, before then demanding the SNP give up on independence
Democracy is not just about one vote once every five years or one vote once on a particular issue causing all argument on that matter to be considered legitimately shut down. That is not the way democracy works. Democracy is a dynamic concept. People who are on the losing side are not obliged to accept that their view has been lost for ever and they are perfectly entitled to continue to argue for it.
– John Bercow
The people of Scotland should not have a second referendum on independence. But the people of the UK should have a second referendum on leaving the European Union. This is because we won the first referendum, and lost the second one.
– if pro-EU anti-Indy people were honest
Since we really should be collecting all these, I thought I’d gather the ones I’ve come across.
It is really important for the public to see the evidence, the economic indicators, the discussion and the trajectory of the Government for the simple reason that this will cost jobs and economic growth. Even the Brexit Secretary’s special adviser has said that it will cost the country £25 billion a year to 2030. Indeed, the Treasury itself has said that it could cost up to £55 billion a year by 2033 if we follow World Trade Organisation rules. That is why we need this information in the public domain and why I have been championing a people’s vote on the final deal. It does not matter whether someone voted remain and was a strong remainer, or voted leave and was a strong leaver, because, if we have the evidence in front of us, it would be democratically right for the public to be shown that evidence, so that they can compare it with what we have now and, in the light of that evidence in front of them, we can ask them whether they wish to go down the route that this chaotic Government are trying to negotiate.
– Ian Murray MP on another EU Referendum
I want to make it absolutely clear to both Nicola Sturgeon, and indeed to Ruth Davidson, the SNP has absolutely no mandate for another Scottish independence referendum. If they try to push one through, Scottish Labour will oppose it in the Scottish Parliament all the way.
– Ian Murray on another Scottish Independence Referendum
It is still possible for the British people to stop a Hard Brexit and keep us in the Single Market. If they want, it will also be possible for the British people to choose to remain in the European Union. Democracy didn’t end on June 23 and the people must have their say over what comes next. Someone will have the final say over our new deal with Europe. It could be politicians or it could be the people. Liberal Democrats believe it should be the people in a referendum.
– Tim Farron on another EU Referendum
Scottish Liberal Democrats stood for election last year on a platform to oppose a new independence referendum. That is what we will do. The First Minister refused to state that Scotland would be a full EU member under her plan. The SNP are risking taking Scotland out of both the UK and out of the EU. Being outside both would be the worst of all worlds for Scotland.
One vote on one day, in one year, by a small majority cannot bind the British people for eternity. The public is entitled to change its mind on an issue…
– Tom Brake MP on another EU Referendum
Brexit destroys the UK’s role as a bridge between the US and Europe, undermining the special relationship. Meanwhile, it pushes the overwhelmingly Europhile Scots towards independence and threatens the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland. Against all these self-inflicted wounds, the Liberal Democrats have stood alone as the only party whose every elected official, candidate and member has supported the UK playing an ever more influential role in the EU and through the EU, in the world.
– Tom Brake MP on another Scottish Independence Referendum
We’re not arguing for a second referendum, we’re arguing a first referendum on the facts. Once the negotiation process has been completed, when we understand what will Brexit involves, people should make a choice; should they progress on with it, or do they want an exit for Brexit? My reading of the mood in Scotland, as in London, and other parts of the UK is that there will be a very strong mood to exit Brexit.
– Vince Cable on another EU Referendum
My party believes this is unnecessary, the debate has already been had. We are arguing for a referendum on Europe, but the context is rather different.
– Vince Cable on another Scottish Independence Referendum
This is an exciting time to have the opportunity to lead on liberal values. And I can announce today that we will open talks with the Scottish Government this week to ask them to back our campaign to give the people across the UK the chance of an exit from Brexit.
– Willie Rennie on another EU Referendum
The SNP have been working towards this announcement for months. They have been determined to contrive a way to ignore their promise that 2014 was ‘once in a generation’. There is no wide public support for a new and divisive referendum. Scottish Liberal Democrats stood on a manifesto to oppose a divisive referendum and we will do that.
– Willie Rennie on another Scottish Independence Referendum
The will of the people is not something that is frozen in time and everybody has the right to keep an open mind…
– Alison McGovern MP on another EU Referendum
Why divide our country even more? Why set people against one another? Have we not had enough of that?
– Alison McGovern MP on another Scottish Independence Referendum
The SNP said the referendum in 2014 was a ‘once in a generation’ decision. They have now gone back on that with this new bid for separation. Ministers now need to deal with the very real prospect of the breakup of the Union, that many of us thought we had secured the future of in 2014.”
– Pat McFadden MP on another Scottish Independence Referendum
The main reason advanced for not holding another referendum is that it would “thwart the will of the people”. I fail to see how this can be the case if the people are the ones who get the final say – it is not as if there will be somebody standing behind every voter in the polling booth forcing them to vote whichever way.
If you voted to leave in 2016 and that is still your view, you can simply vote the same way again, but just as floating voters change their minds at every general election, voters may have a different view on this occasion.
– Chuka Umunna MP on another EU Referendum
They were warned repeatedly that a vote to leave the EU would give the SNP the excuse for another referendum they have been looking for since losing in 2014, but they ignored those warnings. I hope with all my heart and soul that Scotland chooses a future within the United Kingdom. But if Brexit places the future of the UK in jeopardy, history will not forgive those responsible.
– Chuka Umunna MP on another Scottish Independence Referendum
A no deal Brexit would be an economic, social and security catastrophe for the United Kingdom and would be the very worst possible outcome from the chaotic Brexit process. It would have a disastrous impact on the life of nearly every single person in the UK. Theresa May’s fundamental problem is that she has lost control of her own party over Brexit and has no majority in Parliament for her own botched proposals, which have managed to satisfy nobody. And that’s even before she inevitably compromises further in the coming negotiations. That means the Brextremists have an interest in voting down everything in the hope of securing a no deal Brexit. Her only way out is to take the decision to the British public and back a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal.
– Wes Streeting MP on another EU Referendum
The Tories threaten our single market with Europe. The SNP threaten the single market of the UK. Both are an incalculable risk to us all.
– Wes Streeting MP on another Scottish Independence Referendum
People did vote, and they said “yes, that’s what we wanted,” and the government has gone away to negotiate on that – and that is fair enough. But at the end of the day, we do not know – even now, we will have a better idea later this year – what the final terms of that deal are going to be, what is that going to look like, and we certainly don’t know that when we voted in 2016. And so it’s totally reasonable, I think, to say to people “look, when Theresa May comes back and has this deal, you should have the opportunity to look at it, and if you like it, fair enough, but if you don’t like it, you should have the opportunity to reject it.
– Jo Swinson MP on another EU Referendum
Indyre2 should be off the table, it should be cancelled at the very least for this parliament. It should be a once-in-a-generation thing, if it is to happen again.
– Jo Swinson MP on another Scottish Independence Referendum
We MPs made a decision that we would have a referendum. Since then, the people have been outside of the process. The way I see it is this: as Brexit unfolds and people see the reality of it, for the first time ever I think in any country’s history we have actually had a government that has said to its people that we are about to embark on a course that – which ever way you cut it, whatever deals comes out – you and your grandchildren will be less prosperous than you are now. This is really serious stuff. I think the best and right thing to do is to put it back to the people and have a say you can have a vote on this deal.”
– Anna Soubry MP on another EU Referendum
Listen, [Nicola Sturgeon] is a canny politician. She’ll seize any opportunity: independence is her obsession, just like a hard-Brexit is for a whole load of hard-Brexiteers. Unfortunately [she has] a powerful argument and it’s got to be quashed and the way we could have quashed it is by saying, ‘look we are leaving the EU but we are having the benefits of the single market’… This is really bad dangerous stuff. We have got to see off the SNP and stop this second referendum, and if it does happen, make damn sure we win it.
– Anna Soubry MP on another Scottish Independence Referendum
I’m going to be as active as possible on this issue, which I really take to heart. My country has the right to change its mind and I want to fight for that.
– Tony Blair on another EU Referendum
In addition to all this, the possibility of the break-up of the UK, narrowly avoided by the result of the Scottish referendum, is now back on the table, but this time with a context much more credible for the independence case.
– Tony Blair on another Scottish Independence Referendum
A second vote has democratic downsides; it has difficulties. But is it morally justified? I think it is… A great many of the promises they made were fantasy promises. We now know they are not going to be met. It’s painfully obvious… Many of the things they said were absolutely pie-in-the-sky, and if you look at any possible deal we’re going to get, and compare it with what people were promised… there will be a gaping gap. Now that is a reason why people may want a second referendum.
– John Major on another EU Referendum
I believe a hard Brexit will encourage a second referendum on independence. This may seem improbable at the moment, but it would be reckless to ignore the risk. As we saw last June, emotion and national pride can overcome economic self-interest. If Scotland were to become independent, both she and the UK would be diminished. That cannot be ignored as Brexit evolves.
– John Major on another Scottish Independence Referendum
Both the public and politicians are entitled to argue for what they believe and to change their mind. Indeed, elected members have a special duty to speak up for what they believe to be in the best interests of their constituents and the country.
– Kate Green MP, whose party opposes a second Scottish Independence Referendum
British democracy is dynamic and not the dictatorship of the majority. Voters have the right to change their minds in light of the facts.
– Geraint Davies MP, whose party opposes a second Scottish Independence Referendum
When the Government is able to set out an achievable, clearly defined path – one that has been properly considered, whose implications have been foreseen, and that is rooted in reality and evidence, not dreams and dogma – it should go to the people, once again, to seek their confirmation.
– Philip Lee MP, whose party opposes a second Scottish Independence Referendum
Even with a free vote on the final deal in parliament, it still means that in every constituency — mine was mainly Remain — there will inevitably be people disenfranchised by their MP’s vote, despite Brexit shaping all our lives for decades to come. That’s unacceptable. The only solution is to take the final Brexit decision out of the hands of deadlocked politicians, away from the backroom deals, and give it back to the people.
– Justine Greening MP, whose party opposes a second Scottish Independence Referendum
This is such a big issue: democracy didn’t stop the day after the referendum. If the country is taking part in a car crash, is it my responsibility to try and find a way of putting the brakes on? Absolutely! That’s what I owe my constituents, nothing less.
– Stella Creasy MP, whose party opposes a second Scottish Independence Referendum
As London MPs, we will look at the Brexit deal and take a view on whether we think it’s good enough for our constituents and our city. But it cannot be right that 650 MPs alone decide whether to accept the deal, without any say for Londoners or people across the country. That’s why we think it’s essential that there is a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal, so that 65 million people can have their voices heard as well.
– Open Letter from 16 London MPs, whose signatories include:
– Mike Gapes, who (after taunting Alex Salmond with “you lost, we won“) alleged the SNP wanted Remain to lose in order to further their “agenda”
– Rushanara Ali, Ruth Cadbury, Margaret Hodge, David Lammy, Siobhain McDonagh, Tulip Siddiq, Virendra Sharma, Wes Streeting, Gareth Thomas, Chuka Umunna, Catherine West, Rupa Huq, Sir Edward Davey, & Joan Ryan, whose parties are all opposed to a second Scottish Independence Referendum
It isn’t just pro-EU politicians who seem to have this “sauce for the goose is not necessarily sauce for the gander” blind spot:
In democratic nations we hold regular meaningful elections where voters can stick with what they have or wipe the slate clean. Crucial to this principle of people power is the rule that a government cannot bind its successors. For example, if a party won an election promising to cut taxes, then it would have a mandate to do so. But if that party could then pass a law saying no government could ever raise taxes again, it would undermine the right of the electorate to change its mind in future… This is not just undemocratic, it is anti-democratic… If a democracy cannot change its mind, it ceases to be a democracy.
– David Davis MP on democracy (before he decided this didn’t apply to EU referendums)
On the question with respect to the United Kingdom, I said in my response to the urgent question that I would be circumspect, and I intend to be. I am not going to go in for tit-for-tat comments—that would be very bad for our negotiations—but I will take the opportunity to rebut one falsehood I saw being stirred up by various of our political opponents yesterday: the suggestion that we might depart the European Union but leave one part of the United Kingdom behind, still inside the single market and customs union. That is emphatically not something that the UK Government are considering. So when the First Minister of Wales complains about it, the First Minister of Scotland says it is a reason to start banging the tattered drum of independence, or the Mayor of London says it justifies a hard border around the M25, I say they are making a foolish mistake. No UK Government would allow such a thing, let alone a Conservative and Unionist one.
– David Davis MP on another Scottish Independence Referendum
Indeed, we could have two referendums. As it happens, it might make more sense to have the second referendum after the renegotiation is completed.
– Jacob Rees-Mogg MP on another EU Referendum (before he changed his mind)
It is quite right that Scotland had referendums on its decisions on independence and on establishing a Parliament in the first place, because those are effectively permanent decisions, irreversible and unchangeable without the consent of the Scottish people… Against that evolving doctrine of referendums there is, inevitably, the Government’s view of referendums, which I characterise, perhaps unfairly, as being, “We will have referendums when we think we will win them, but if we think we won’t win them, it is a bit too dangerous, so we won’t take the risk.”
– Jacob Rees-Mogg MP on referendums in general
So maybe, just maybe, I’m reaching the point of thinking that we should have a second referendum… I think that if we had a second referendum… we would kill it off for a generation.
– Nigel Farage on another EU Referendum
If the Scots want to vote for independence, if they want to be separate from the United Kingdom, separate from the European Union, to be a genuinely independent country, well have that debate and make that choice. I would be very sad if they did that because I want us to preserve the union, but for goodness’ sake, do not allow the Scots to go through a second, false referendum, where what they are being offered is not actually the truth.
– Nigel Farage on another Scottish Independence Referendum
The spinning these individuals do could power Scotland for a year.