Scots back ‘four nation consent’ for EU vote, suggests Survation

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A new poll by Survation, commissioned by the SNP, indicates that most Scots would like a ‘double majority’ vote on an in/out referendum.

The idea of 'four nation consent' means that firstly in order for the UK to leave the EU, a majority of citizens across the UK would have to vote ‘out’, and secondly, all of the individual constituent countries of the UK would have to vote in favour of the ‘Brexit’.

Respondents to the survey, which only asked Scots, were asked the following:

“Prime Minister David Cameron is proposing an in/out referendum in 2017 on the UK's continued membership of the European Union. To what extent do you agree or disagree that in such a referendum, all of the four constituent nations of the UK - England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland - should have to vote to leave the EU before the UK as a whole could withdraw?”

A total of 60.3% of respondents said that they would be in favour of such a move - with 36.5% strongly agreeing and 23.8% just agreeing. On the other hand, a mere 20.5% disagreed with the idea of ‘four nation consent’.

Additionally, 11% said they did not know and 14.3% neither agreed or disagreed.

Commenting on the poll, according to the SNP website, Nicola Sturgeon said:

"Significantly, this democratic safeguard against Scotland being dragged out of Europe against our will is supported by a strong majority of people who voted No in the referendum as well as Yes - and by supporters of all political parties, people of all ages, all social backgrounds, and in every part of Scotland.”

The idea of this sort of agreement is a new one in British politics, but it is not new in other countries. For example, Switzerland’s referenda on changing the constitution have a similar rule. In order for such a referendum to pass, a majority of Switzerland’s citizens that vote must approve the measure, as well as a majority of the cantons.This differs slightly to what is being pushed by the SNP as in Switzerland they need a majority of cantons, whereas the idea is that in the UK all four nations should have to vote 'out'.

If the Conservatives remain the top party in parliament and head a coalition after May then the referendum will likely go ahead, however, it is unlikely that the idea of ‘four nation consent’ will go along with it. Nonetheless, if the Conservatives do need support from the SNP, who could become Westminster’s third largest party, then all that could change as an agreement on the issue with Nicola Sturgeon’s party could be the only way in securing that referendum. Then again, it’s hard to imagine the SNP working with the Conservatives.

Overall, a referendum of this nature looks unlikely unless the SNP are needed. What would be interesting if polls were conducted in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to see if people backed the idea. It would not be surprising if in England at least, there would be less appetite for such a proposal, as polling often places Scotland as less eurosceptic than most of the rest of the UK.

The full results of the poll can be found here. Survation surveyed 1,011 Scots aged 16+ between the 12th and 17th February.


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