Scottish voters could be the key to thwarting Brexit in U.K. election
TORONTO -- As voters in the United Kingdom head to the polls later this week, Scotland could be the key determinant for the future of Brexit.
Scotland represents 59 seats in the U.K. Parliament, meaning voters in the region could deprive Conservative Party Leader Boris Johnson of the majority government that he needs in order to quickly pass his proposal for Brexit.
One of the parties opposed to Brexit is the Scottish National Party, which held 35 seats in Parliament during the last sitting, but is hoping for big gains in this election in an effort to keep the U.K. within the European Union.
“Brexit will do real damage to our economy, our society, to the prospects of future generations,” Nicola Sturgeon, the party’s leader, told CTV News.
Scottish independence is not on the election ballot, but Sturgeon has made it clear that that any party hoping to earn her support in a minority government will have to allow Scotland to hold another independence referendum.
She believes there is newfound support for Scottish independence since 2014, when 55.3 per cent of voters chose to remain a part of the U.K. Since then, the Scottish voted overwhelmingly against leaving the EU, but were ultimately outvoted by the rest of the U.K. and feel dragged into Brexit.
“We face Brexit against our will,” Sturgeon said. “It’s a democratic deficit that stands to do real damage to our economic and social interests.”
Young Scottish voters are also poised to play a huge part in this election. The Electoral Commission reported last week that 1.4 million Scottish people aged 18 to 25 registered to vote since the election was called in late October. Another 1.2 million Scottish voters aged 25-34 have also registered to vote.
For 18-year-old University of Glasgow student Caitlin Kennedy, this vote is about having her opinion on Brexit heard after being ineligible to vote on the issue in 2016.
“I just think Brexit was unnecessary in the first place,” she said. “I think it was just a push and I think a lot of people voted for something they didn’t know much about.”
Kennedy’s opinion is popular among those her age. A survey from March indicated 74 per cent of U.K. voters who were too young to vote in 2016 would vote to remain a part of the EU if given the opportunity.
Regardless of the outcome, it appears voters in Scotland are eager to have their voices heard. The Scottish Assessors Association reported 4,053,140 people have registered to vote, an all-time record and an increase of three per cent from last year.
Voters in the U.K. head to the polls on Dec. 12.
With files from The Associated Press