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Liz Truss plans law to move goal posts on independence referendum – requiring nearer 60% to vote ‘yes’

03 Sep 2022 2 minute read
Liz Truss during a hustings event in Norwich. Photo Joe Giddens PA Images

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.”

‘Everyone’s country’

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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Richard 1
Richard 1
1 month ago

Compare this hypocritical posturing with 2016 when a bare majority took us out of the EU in a purely advisory no-threshold referendum

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard 1

Too right! Also note the hypocracy “The UK is everyone’s country and we must protect and support it.” The UK is not ‘A’ country it is a collection of countries and no, the Tories do not protect and support it.

Last edited 1 month ago by Peter Cuthbert
Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
1 month ago

Back into the EU we go then as 52% was not enough and the majority of the UK population does not want a Tory government EVER so you are the weakest link – goodbye!

hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago
Reply to  Fi yn unig

Back into EU ? – Maybe that’s part of Truss’ agenda. As far as I know she was a Remainer in 2016 although her penchant for flip flopping might make her a flat earther by now !

Paul
Paul
1 month ago

Firstly, the Good Friday / Belfast Agreement says a simple majority is needed for a united Ireland. Is she now changing the interpretation to a majority of the population rather than the majority of voters.

Also, can we apply the same rational to MPs – They do not win an election unless they get a majority of constituents?

Finally, nothing will breed contempt like clapping smaller nations in irons.

Frank
Frank
1 month ago

The English are really afraid of independence.

George
George
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank

The English are a varied bunch of people.

A certain percentage of English people (and Welsh/Scottish people who want to be English) didn’t want to be part of the EU because it meant having other counties with equally loud voices (France and Germany really) but want to stop breakup of the UK because it’s a union where they have loudest voice.

That certain percentage of English people like having the loudest voice in a union and want to use it to dominate and force bad policy down others necks, but it’s not all English people.

I.Humphrys
I.Humphrys
1 month ago
Reply to  George

IWonder what those “percentages” are? Certainly, the deep state finds the small name of “England” scary, especially now the East and Global South have risen: One Indian observer has wondered “why the Irish, Scots and Welsh let themselves be colonised by England in this day and age………….” Hmm.

Richard Winder
Richard Winder
1 month ago
Reply to  I.Humphrys

Scotland were never colonised they drove the Union not England.

Rick H Johnston
Rick H Johnston
28 days ago
Reply to  Richard Winder

Ordinary Scots RIOTED in 1707 when we were sold out to London rule.
The Scottish aristocrats who signed our freedom away are forever known as the parcel of rogues in a nation.

Frank
Frank
1 month ago

The same should apply to elections then. How can a party ever be in power with say only 32% of the vote? 68% will have voted for someone else!! Surely that is not fair?

Richard 1
Richard 1
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank

No it’s not fair but it keeps the tories in power most of the time and lets Labour be the main opposition party, which gives their leader the status of leader of all the opposition. For both of them it’s easier than doing real politics. Contemptible.

The original mark
The original mark
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank

Since when have elections been fair? You should see what else the tories have got lined up for future general elections, changed constituency boundaries, voter I’d, limiting the electoral commission’s power, removing residency controls for all those racist immigrants who have gone to live in spain, and all to stay in power.

Gareth
Gareth
1 month ago

This is the type of democracy being played by Putin in occupied Ukraine, and look how that is playing out. Deny people their will by fixing votes and rigging elections, and it ends in violence. Truss and the Tory party are wandering into a dark place with this behaviour.

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
1 month ago

Abhorrent argument from someone with an imperialist mindset. Liz Truss needs to seriously think about the things she is saying. The rhetoric is anti-democratic. Can’t say I’m surprised though.

Windy
Windy
1 month ago

It’s about time the other nations in the uk constantly remind the English how insignificant England would be to the rest of the world without them and that is one of the reasons they will not let any of them go it’s an ego thing

The original mark
The original mark
1 month ago

When will the penny drop, there is only one way we will gain independence, and that is if we take it, because Westminster will never give it freely. Just watch how they stop Scotland over the next few months.

Windy
Windy
1 month ago

Come the revolution

Richard Jenkins
Richard Jenkins
1 month ago

The time is approaching for Cymru I feel. We face an existential threat! Y Cymry must either stand up for Indy or see Cymru disappear into Greater England. The choice is clearer each day that Westminster attack devolution. We need to understand there is no guarantee of devolved powers. Westminster can dissolve the Senedd whenever it chooses. The ultimate power over us is still retained by them. Our nationhood is not written in stone!

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
1 month ago

We can’t afford not to become independent – that is the only true statement recently. Not only will we become even poorer we will cease to be a nation if we stay in this Union. That is what Truss and the Tories want. Even if it means that we must eventually declare UDI – so be it.

George
George
1 month ago

We’re going to end up in a really dangerous position where Truss knows she can’t win an election in 2 years so spends the time using Tories majority to royally feck things up longer term. Pundits highlighting that Gordon Brown saw need to have home generated energy (investing in nuclear and green energy) but this was stopped by Cameron and successive Tory governments so now we’re in cost-of-living crisis haven’t seen anything yet. Have you seen the Times reports that Truss wants to scrap EU worker’s protections so workers lose out on holiday pay, cap on working hours per week… Read more »

Gareth
Gareth
1 month ago
Reply to  George

Your last sentence was what Brexit was about. We have seen environmental laws eg dumping sewage, human rights laws, animal rights laws all altered, now its the turn of workers basic rights, no redundancy payments, no maternity leave etc back to pre EU membership.

Adrian Meagher
Adrian Meagher
1 month ago

If 50%+1 of those voting in Northern Ireland is good enough to leave the UK I don’t see why the same should not apply to Cymru and Yr Alban.

Cochyn Caerloyw
Cochyn Caerloyw
1 month ago

With her as PM, getting to 60% plus will be no problem at all. Bring it on.

Geoffrey ap.
Geoffrey ap.
1 month ago

Just to remind you that this suggestion dates back to the right wing of the labour party, under Kinnock Abse and Thomas etc, who made this the condition of the first Welsh devolution bill. I forget the exact figure they established but it effectively counted those who didn’t vote and those who had died, but still on the electoral register, as voting against.
They established this as an effective method of frustrating the true will of the people.

G Horton-Jones
G Horton-Jones
1 month ago

And you were elected to be Prime Minister by a selected super minority from the Tory funny farm who represent a fraction of one percent of even the supporters at a half decent football game.

Richard Winder
Richard Winder
1 month ago

A sensible solution and long used in the US for major constitutional changes where an overwhelming desire for change is required before implementing it.At two-thirds majority there could be no doubt about the result.Seperatists may not like it as the road to independence is a very long road as it is.They would need to present a better case than they do now for sure in order to win more support for their independence.Under this formula brexit would not have happened.

Gwion
Gwion
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard Winder

‘Seperatists’…sounds like a Brit Nat term for Celtic freedom. On July 4th, the USA don’t celebrate ‘Seperation Day”, Ukrainian people are not considered ‘Seperatists”.
The only seperatists in the Unequal Kingdom are the Brexiteers who wanted to build trade barriers with 28 other European countries.they

Mawkernewek
1 month ago

If this is their attitude, how can we trust them not to change the rules to essentially rig the next General Election?

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