What Happened?

In the 2011 Scottish Parliamentary elections, the Scottish National Party (SNP) won a majority of seats and the UK Government agreed to proceed with a referendum on Scottish independence.

In September 2014, 45% of Scots voted to become an independent country, and 55% voted to remain within the United Kingdom. A key component of the ‘No’ campaign victory was Scotland’s membership of the European Union.

The 2015 UK General Election saw an unprecedented landslide for the SNP, winning all but 3 of Scotland’s 59 seats in the UK House of Commons.

In the May 2016 Scottish Parliamentary elections, the SNP included a commitment in their election manifesto to a fresh independence referendum [1]:

‘If there is clear and sustained evidence that independence has become the preferred option of a majority of the Scottish people – or if there is a significant and material change in the circumstances that prevailed in 2014, such as Scotland being taken out of the EU against our will.’

And on 23 June 2016 UK referendum on EU Membership, Scotland voted overwhelmingly to Remain at 62% – a majority in every local authority area across Scotland, and representing 642,869 people.

The SNP made efforts to include 16 and 17 year olds in the franchise, give EU nationals the vote and establish a quadruple lock respecting the various nations that make up the UK. This demanded that unless “a majority of the votes cast in the referendum in each of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are against the United Kingdom remaining a member of the European Union” the UK would remain a member of the EU [1]

Yet attempts to compromise with the UK Government were cast aside, and on Friday 31 January 2020, Scotland’s EU Membership came to an end.

In May 2021, the Scottish National Party (SNP) and Scottish Green Party won a majority of seats in the Scottish Parliamentary elections, and agreed a shared policy programme – the Bute House Agreement. This included a commitment to a referendum on Scottish independence within the current Parliamentary session, and seek to rejoin the European Union as a full member.

The UK Government has since resisted calls to respect Scotland’s democracy, and the Scottish people’s right to determine their own constitutional arrangements.