Electoral Reform Society Calls For Constitutional Convention As Referendum Shows 'Nations Divided'
ERS Scotland warns of “constitutional chaos” as Scotland, Northern Ireland and London vote remain despite overall ‘leave’ result
Scottish independence back on agenda as Salmond predicts second independence referendum and Greens launch petition to keep Scotland in EU
Campaigners criticise “piecemeal and ad hoc” approach to previous constitutional change, and calls for “joined-up deliberation” which “lets the public in”
Statement from Electoral Reform Society Scotland for immediate release, June 24th, 2016
For media enquiries, contact: Rory Scothorne, ERS Scotland Campaigns Organiser (Policy), on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07988157783, or Katie Gallogly-Swan, ERS Scotland Campaigns Organiser, on Katie.email@example.com or 07930862497
The Electoral Reform Society Scotland has called for a constitutional convention to avoid “constitutional chaos” after the UK voted to leave the European Union - despite Scotland, London and Northern Ireland voting to remain.
ERS Scotland criticised the “piecemeal and ad hoc” approach to previous constitutional change and are calling for future change to involve "joined-up deliberation" to “let the public in” following the conflicted result.
Scotland voted to remain in the EU by 62% to 38%, with every local authority voting for remain, but 52% of the UK as a whole voted to leave. The result has led to renewed calls for Scotland to find a way of staying in the EU despite the UK-wide result, with the Scottish Green Party launching a petition called “keep Scotland in Europe” which asks Holyrood’s politicians to “examine and exhaust every option for continuing Scotland’s close ties with Europe.”
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has previously said that if Scotland voted to remain while the UK as a whole voted to leave, it could constitute a sufficient “material change” to justify another referendum on Scottish independence from the UK. Former SNP leader Alex Salmond has predicted that Sturgeon would now “implement the SNP manifesto” which proposed a second referendum under such circumstances.
Spokesperson for ERS Scotland Rory Scothorne said:
“We are clearly in uncharted political waters here. The governments of the UK should very quickly issue a joint holding statement on how they might plot a course through this turbulent constitutional time. This vote poses big questions about the constitution of the UK as a political entity going forward, with the UK’s nations divided. Without action now we risk descending into constitutional chaos, and it’s vital that the public are involved in the discussions that lie ahead about the ramifications of this split vote.
"Despite an unremittingly negative campaign, people took their democratic duty seriously and turned out in higher than expected numbers. The public's appetite to engage in constitutional issues, seen first in the independence referendum and reflected in yesterday’s turnout – higher than the recent Holyrood election – is clear. The referendum should mark the beginning not the end of involving the public in shaping future democracy in Scotland and the UK.
“It’s more clear than ever that we need a citizen-led constitutional convention to bring citizens and politicians together to seriously discuss the democratic future of the UK. The constitutional changes we’ve seen in recent years have been piecemeal and ad hoc – it’s time for some joined-up deliberation and to let the public in. All parties across the UK should now come together to discuss how best to start this essential process.”