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Future Scottish independence referendum ‘should be put to all four UK nations’ peer argues

23 Jun 2022 4 minute read
The flags of Wales, Scotland, England and the UK. Picture by Joowwww.

A future Scottish independence referendum should include all four nations, peers have heard.

The Bishop of Blackburn Rt Rev Julian Henderson suggested a referendum on the union, such as a Scottish independence vote, could include all four nations as peers debated the stresses upon the union of the United Kingdom.

Several peers also expressed concerns that stresses on the Union are becoming worse.

The debate comes after Scotland’s SNP First Minister Nicola Sturgeon began laying out the case for a second Scottish independence referendum, with suggestions such a vote could come as early as next year.

Making his valedictory speech, the Bishop told the Lords: “I do wonder if a referendum is pressed for whether so major a decision with consequences for the whole union should be decided by only one part and not take into account the view of the whole.

“But I know that is controversial.”

Elsewhere in the debate, a number of peers expressed concerns that strains on the union are growing.

Former Commons clerk and cross bench peer Lord Lisvane said in the time since he secured a previous debate in 2019 where the effects of Brexit were discussed, he said: “More than three years later, those uncertainties remain, and in some respects have become more threatening.”

Liberal Democrat peer Lord Wallace of Saltaire said: “The stresses upon the union are clearly growing.”

“The stresses and strains… are, if anything, getting worse,” Labour peer Viscount Stansgate added.

‘Independence rejected’

Conservative former Lords leader Lord Strathclyde said “We have nearly had 25 years of devolution. Enough time for us to get used to it, enough time for it to bed down with our constitutional arrangements, and yet… we haven’t.

“The stresses and strains are only too visible, too complicated, and it is clearly going to take considerably more time for them to work down into a workable proposition.”

Liberal Democrat peer Lord Bruce of Bennachie told the upper chamber the SNP were “undermining and trashing devolution and United Kingdom co-operation”, adding: “They claim they have a mandate for independence, but it’s not the case. When the question was asked, independence was rejected, and opinion appears to be settled at about the same level.”

Earlier in the debate, independent crossbencher Viscount Waverley spoke about the importance of reflecting on why the devolved nations voted to remain within the European Union.

He said: “Brexit was an assertion made up mostly by the English and for the most part, this Government is considered to be an English one. And only occasionally a British one.

“In understanding that it was the English community living in Wales that tilted that country to leave the European Union, should we be reflecting on why the devolved nations voted therefore to remain within the European Union?”

He added: “What is it about one state of a union that does not apply to the other?

“An effect of Brexit has been to loosen the social contract binding Britain’s union of nations together, revealing the union as of the English, by the English, for the English.

“And taken as a whole, there is no example of a federal state anywhere where one of the components of the federation is so large.”

‘Complacency’

Communities minister Lord Greenhalgh said the UK Government was “absolutely committed” to devolution across the UK, and said Scottish people wanted both its Governments to be “placing their full focus on the issues that really matter” rather than discussing a second independence vote.

The debate comes after a cross-party group of peers considered the future of the UK and how it could be kept together in future.

The Lords Constitution Committee took evidence from Communities Secretary Michael Gove, the Labour Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, and the Labour First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford, among others.

In its report, the committee stressed that there is “no room for complacency” about the future of the United Kingdom, and that there are “clear and achievable” means to make it fit for the 21st century.


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Richard
Richard
5 months ago

The failed, feeble, fawning and forgotton in most cases – out of sight – out lf touch and i guess soon out of a job in a few years 😄

Quornby
Quornby
5 months ago

Perhaps Brexit should have been voted on by France et al.?? Idiotic idea.

Cathy Jones
Cathy Jones
5 months ago

now me, I’m all for Independence for Cymru, Scotland and a United Ireland, that’s my bias.. I am of the strongest conviction that the greatest strain on “the Union” today is the Tories and the Brexit fiasco, and I think that the English Nationalism has led to both of those things and I also am convinced that if it were a Tory cabinet that was less fascist in its behaviour the stresses ion the “Union” (I feel like it is more of a hostage situation myself, but there we are) wouldn’t be as great as they are… however, I am… Read more »

Toto Orilley
Toto Orilley
5 months ago
Reply to  Cathy Jones

I am all for England ceeding from the Union. Bring home the jobs to the red wall.

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
5 months ago

That would be the dinosaur who threatened to quit the CoE a couple of years ago if it recognised same sex relationships. Seriously who gives two hoots what that unelected bigot thinks about anything?
https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2020/11/24/bishop-blackburn-reverend-julian-henderson-church-of-england-lgbt-same-sex-marriage/

TheShineyArmadillo
TheShineyArmadillo
5 months ago

Population of the 4 countries:

Scotland approx 5.5million
Wales approx 3.1 million
N. Ireland approx 1.9 million

England approx 56.3 million

Can’t imagine why they want English voters to be able to votes in the Scottish referendum, and presumably any future referendums on the future of the union

Crwtyn Cemais
Crwtyn Cemais
5 months ago

So the (English) Bishop of Blackburn, sitting as a Peer in the House of Lords, thinks that all the voters of all four countries of the UK, should be allowed to vote in a future Scottish independence referendum. One can only wonder how the Bishop would have felt, if all voters in all the Member States of The European Union, had been given a vote in the Brexit referendum. I suspect that he would not have been very happy about it.

Dave
Dave
5 months ago

just think about this, so the Scottish people decide they want #IndyScotland but the rest of the UK disagree. Then what?

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
5 months ago

Nicola Sturgeon and her SNP government have a mandate from the Scottish people to implement their manifesto promises. that were endorsed by the voting public.

And only Scotland has the right to decide its own destiny whether it becomes an independent nation not Wales, Northern Ireland or England. End of!

Not My Real Name
Not My Real Name
5 months ago

What an idiotic statement from the peer.
Should an abused spouse need the permission of their abuser to leave the home?

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
5 months ago

I wonder if what he was proposing somehow got lost in the translation? If we were to have a referendum on Independence surely it would make sense for the voters in Scotland to vote on Scottish independence, Voters in Ulster vote on whatever constitutional arrangement is on the table there, English voters to vote on Independence for England and Welsh voters on independence for Wales. Basically it would be a referendum on the continuation or extinction of the ‘United Kingdom’. Of coure unravelling the resulting data would be a nightmare for the politicians. Imagine if England voted for independence and… Read more »

barrie.miller 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🇺🇦
barrie.miller 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🇺🇦
5 months ago

That’s not how independence referendums work, the state seeking independence holds the referendum not the state they’re seeking independence from

Stephen Owen
Stephen Owen
5 months ago

What is the point of that? Just a waste of time and money to ask all four nations of the UK, if the people of Scotland want to be independent they will be whatever anyone else thinks

David Smith
David Smith
5 months ago

The unelected Lord answered his own question when he said, to paraphrase, “England is massive, innit!”. Plenty of pomp and circumstance, but not too many brain cells rattling round under his silly wig.

Quornby
Quornby
5 months ago

Can Welsh people vote on the next tory by-election? Er…….. no. Mmm thought not. Tory hypocrite.

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