Liz Truss plans law to move goal posts on independence referendum – requiring nearer 60% to vote ‘yes’
Liz Truss is considering moving the goalposts on independence referendums to require that a vote would need half the electorate to vote ‘yes’ to separation rather than just half the voters.
It would mean that, in cases where 85% of the electorate turned out as in 2014 Scottish independence referendum, nearer 60% would have to vote ‘yes’ before being allowed to leave the union.
The Sunday Times reports that Liz Truss plans to raise an additional barrier to independence, requiring that over 60% of the population want a referendum in the first place before it is allowed.
A similar plan scuppered independence for Scotland in 1979, because a majority of voters backed the move but a majority of the electorate – including those who did not vote – did not.
An ally of Liz Truss told the Times: “After all, the SNP said after the 2014 referendum that they would not seek another one until polls consistently showed more than 60 per cent of the public would vote to leave the UK.
“In order to achieve independence, it would not be unreasonable for the Yes side to demonstrate that it was the settled will of the Scottish people like in the 1997 devolution referendum where there was a three to one majority in favour of a Scottish parliament.”
The proposed change to the rules to make it harder for nations of the UK to become independent comes after former Brexit minister Lord Frost said that it should be made “impossible”.
He that a referendum on independence should “simply be impossible”, with a bar of 75 per cent of seats in the devolved parliament being in favour of independence, over an entire decade.
“Meanwhile, I urge people in England not to give in to the ‘let them go’ argument,” he said. “Partly because the break-up of the country would be a massive national humiliation. In Europe and beyond, it would be seen as a comeuppance which they would exploit to the full.
“But, more importantly, because it is morally wrong. Supporters of the Union in Scotland, people who have built their lives and families on the assumption of its permanence, should not be abandoned. The UK is everyone’s country and we must protect and support it.”
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