6 May 2014
A vote for the Scottish Conservatives is one to support reform in Europe and oppose separation from the UK, leader Ruth Davidson said today.
At the launch of the party’s campaign for the European elections on May 22, she reaffirmed the backing for an in-out referendum on Europe in 2017.
While the Scottish Conservatives are committed to such a vote, Labour, the SNP and LibDems are opposed, while UKIP are in no position to deliver such a ballot.
That is despite nearly six in ten Scots saying they want a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union.
Ruth also announced today that the party will appear on the ballot paper at the European elections as “Scottish Conservatives – No to Independence”.
This sends out a clear message that a vote for the Scottish Conservatives at this election is one to back our UK family of nations, as this will give us more influence to change Europe.
Ruth will also accuse Labour and the SNP of “bottling it” on the need to reform the EU, with a recent survey showing only a quarter of Scots think the European Union should remain unchanged.
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson MSP said:
“The Scottish Conservatives are the only party at this election who are acting on the wishes of the people of Scotland.
“The evidence shows that nearly 60% of Scots want a referendum. That’s exactly what the Scottish Conservatives, within the UK, can deliver.
“As part of the UK, Scotland can be part of a new deal that renews our relationship with Europe.
“That includes a better deal for Scottish taxpayers, continued control over our borders, greater control over justice and home affairs, and saying ‘no’ to the Euro.”
Looking ahead to September’s referendum, she added:
“None of that will happen if the SNP rip Scotland out of the UK.
“We would lose all the hard won deals that guarantee benefits to us right now, such as our rebate, our opt out from the Euro, and VAT exemptions on goods like children’s clothes.
“The independence referendum will be the biggest choice this country has faced in 300 years.
“It will decide whether we can forge a new UK wide deal with Europe, or whether we have to join the queue to get in – that’s why we’ve decided to put it on the ballot paper.
“It’s a clear choice – a vote for the Scottish Conservatives at these elections is a vote to keep our UK family of nations together, so we can change Europe for the better.”
Ruth criticised both the SNP and Labour for ignoring their voters in Scotland despite polls showing a majority want an EU referendum, saying:
“All the political parties in Scotland recognise the right of people to choose the country’s future through a referendum on Scottish independence. Yet both the SNP and Labour are now ignoring the wishes of their supporters by saying they shouldn’t have the same say in a referendum on Europe.
“I want Scotland and the UK to stay in the European Union – but the EU needs reform.
“Bottling that challenge – as both the SNP and Labour are doing – is to ignore the wishes of voters, and means the necessary change that will help Europe prosper will not come about.”
Dr Ian Duncan, the Scottish Conservative lead candidate, who spent seven years as the head of the Scottish Parliament’s office in Brussels, said:
“I’ve seen the EU close up. I have watched Eurocrats creating rules and regulations, indifferent to the impact upon the citizens of Europe.
“I was in Brussels when EU officials decided to ban cod fishing in the North Sea, seemingly unaware such a ban would have destroyed communities and a way of life stretching back into history.
“I have spent the last year travelling around Scotland. From Lerwick to Hawick, from Inverness to Inverclyde, you hear the same concerns – too much interference, too many regulations, too much form filling.
“Scots want reform, a renegotiation of our relationship with Europe. And that is what Conservatives stand for – change, and then choice in a referendum.
“I believe in the single market, a place where we can do business, where we can trade without tax or tariff.
“I believe we should extend our trade to the US, to Japan, to China, where EU-brokered free trade agreements will do much to help our exports whether they be whisky, video games, salmon or caramel wafers.
“Reform means protecting our industries from further regulation and interference.
“It means an opt-out from new rules that could tie up Scotland’s crucial financial services sector.
“It means ending the EU’s attempts to interfere with our vital oil interests. It means exempting more and more small business from the burden and tangle of red tape.
“And it means supporting free movement of workers, but not free movement of those who come to Scotland seeking benefits alone.”