Glasgow Labour MSP Anne McTaggart has reiterated Scottish Labour’s commitment to making a positive and progressive case for Scotland’s continued membership of the EU.
Ms McTaggart was speaking during a debate at the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday 9th June on the EU Referendum which will take place before the end of 2017.
During her speech, Ms McTaggart spoke of the economic benefits of EU membership. She highlighted the fact that Britain’s potential exit from the EU poses huge risks for British jobs, trade and investment, and that the EU is still by far Scotland’s biggest export market. She argued that tariff-free access to 500 million customers is hugely important for Scottish businesses, with half the countries inward investment coming from the EU.
The SNP have argued that the four constituent parts of the UK should each have a veto—known as a double-lock system—in the referendum, a move which Ms McTaggart described as “headline grabbing and issue deflecting.”
Ms McTaggart also outlined her support for allowing 16 and 17 year olds and EU citizens to take part in the referendum.
Speaking in the debate Ms McTaggart said:
“During the referendum Scottish Labour will make a positive, progressive case for continued membership while advocating, as a strong and active member, constructive reform of the EU from within the existing treaty framework.
“I believe that the debate should not only be about economics; it should also be about security and values. We should not underestimate the importance of the shared values of peace, democracy and the peaceful resolution of disputes that are embodied by EU membership.
“We believe that 16 and 17-year-olds should be allowed to take part in the EU referendum. The picture from Scotland’s referendum was clear: 16 and 17-year-olds are a sophisticated, nuanced group of voters. They are engaged. They care just as much as those who are older and they most certainly deserve to be full participants.
“We are also committed to letting EU citizens vote in the referendum. EU citizens who have decided to make the UK their home—who live here, work here, raise families here and pay taxes here—should be given the opportunity to vote on a matter of huge significance for the future.”
You can read Ms McTaggart’s speech here.