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House of Lords Library

Scottish Independence Referendum Procedure: Section 30 Orders

Published Thursday, April 6, 2017

This House of Lords Library briefing provides information on the call for a second Scottish independence referendum and the section 30 order proposed by the Scottish Government as the means to hold one.

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On 13 March 2017, Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, confirmed that she would ask the Scottish Parliament for permission to ask the Prime Minister for an agreement to hold a second referendum on the issue of Scottish independence. Following this announcement, Ms Sturgeon put forward a motion (S5M-04710) on the issue to be debated by the Scottish Parliament. On 28 March 2017, an amended version of the motion (put forward by the Scottish Green Party) was approved by 69 votes to 59, which stated:

That the Parliament acknowledges the sovereign right of the Scottish people to determine the form of government best suited to their needs and therefore mandates the Scottish Government to take forward discussions with the UK Government on the details of an order under section 30 of the Scotland Act 1998 to ensure that the Scottish Parliament can legislate for a referendum to be held that will give the people of Scotland a choice over the future direction and governance of their country at a time, and with a question and franchise, determined by the Scottish Parliament, which would most appropriately be between the autumn of 2018, when there is clarity over the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, and around the point at which the UK leaves the EU in spring 2019; believes that this gives people in Scotland a choice at a time when there is both the most information and most opportunity to act; further believes that 16 and 17-year-olds and EU citizens, who were excluded from the EU referendum, should be entitled to vote, and considers that this referendum is necessary given the Prime Minister’s decision to negotiate a hard exit from the EU, including leaving the single market, which conflicts with assurances given by the UK Government and prominent Leave campaigners, and which takes no account of the overwhelming Remain vote in Scotland.

This House of Lords Library briefing provides information on the Government response to this announcement, the section 30 order proposed and the process followed for the 2014 referendum.

Lords In Focus LIF-2017-0036

Author: Nicole Winchester

Topics: Constitution, Devolution, Legislative process, Scottish Parliament

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House of Lords Library

The House of Lords Library delivers research and information services to Members and staff of the House in support of parliamentary business.