Commons defeat

SNP independence day ‘stunt’ voted down by MPs

Ian Murray
Ian Murray: ‘Groundhog Day’ (pic: Terry Murden)

The SNP has lost its attempt to take over Commons business to present a bill giving the Holyrood parliament new power to call a referendum.

The Commons voted down a plan to introduce the Scotland Act 1998 (Amendment) Bill on 10 January which would allow Scotland to decide on independence.

One source described the move as a “politial stunt” and there was never any likelihood it going ahead. MPs voted down the move by 265 votes to 42, a majority of 223.

Tommy Sheppard, the SNP constitutional affairs spokesman, said the idea that the UK is a voluntary union was “dead in the water” after the Supreme Court ruled last month that Holyrood could not hold a referendum without Westminster’s approval.

But Ian Murray, the shadow Scotland secretary, suggested that the debate felt like the 1993 film Groundhog Day, as the Commons relived the same debate.

Mr Murray also told MPs that the SNP’s record in government as “utterly deplorable”.

“I would say what a pleasure it is to be involved in this debate today, but that wouldn’t be entirely true,” he said. “Yet again, when the SNP get precious time to use on any issue they wish, they choose this one again.

“It’s like the famous film Groundhog Day, where Bill Murray relives the same day over and over again. But in this place, we relive the same debate over and over again. Every single time they choose the same debate topic.”

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