Why an Advisory IndyRef2 Would NOT Be Illegal.

Image Credit: @defiaye

With the refusal of the UK Government to grant a Section 30 order to allow for the holding of a binding second Scottish Independence Referendum all but certain then the next best route for the Scottish Government to take would be to hold an advisory referendum.

But with tweets from some Tory MSPs today stating that Nicola Sturgeon is “plotting an illegal referendum” we can clearly see the rhetoric that the Unionists and their supporters will use against us.

However I can reveal today that legislation has been in place for over forty years that does in fact provide a way for an advisory referendum to be held.

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Who Funds Jo Swinson?

The Scottish branch office of the Liberal Democrats are holding their sparsely attended conference in Hamilton this weekend and controversy erupted yesterday when ahead of her speech Jo Swinson, the MP for East Dunbartonshire, was introduced as having “unseated the odious John Nicolson”. John is the former SNP MP for the constituency having held the seat from 2015 to 2017.

This won’t be the first time that Ms Swinson has had an article about her on this website, her first appearance coming when I investigated her spending at the 2017 General Election and you can view that article here.

For this article I’m going to explore the donors that fund her.

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Oops Ross

I’ve just reported Ross Thomson MP to the Committee on Standards and the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards for what I think is a breach of the Parliamentary Code of Conduct with regards to entries in the Register of Members Financial Interests.

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Holyrood Elections Voting System: A Discussion

I got into a really interesting discussion on Saturday night on Twitter about how the voting system for Holyrood elections worked and many people in the conversation admitted they simply don’t understand how the system actually works especially when it comes to the issue of list votes.

In this article I aim to explain the system in simple terms, examine the factors that led to the SNP losing its majority in the 2016 election and also explore the differences between voting SNP on both ballot papers and splitting the votes between SNP and another pro-indy party.

It’s a long article so get yourself a cuppa (or something stronger) and make yourself comfy ūüôā

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Number of Universal Credit Sanctions Falling in Scotland

Data obtained from the Department of Work and Pensions shows that the number of Universal Credit claimants being sanctioned fell between March and August 2018 in Scotland. (August 2018 is the latest month that data is currently available for).

Despite the total number of people claiming Universal Credit rising from 78,975 in March to 113,831 in August the number of people subject to sanctions fell from 3,397 to 2,380 over the same period. That represents a change from 4.3% of claimants being sanctioned down to 2.1%.

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Scottish International Trade Outperforming The Rest Of The UK

Figures released recently by HMRC show that Scotland is outperforming the rest of the United Kingdom when it comes to imports and exports.

In the year to the end of September 2018 Scotland exported £29.6 Billion worth of goods to countries abroad compared to £27.9 Billion in the previous year, a rise of 6.1%.

In contrast the UK as a whole showed only a 4% increase from £322.8 Billion to £335.6 Billion. Read more

Explained: How New Pension Credit Rules Could Cost Couples Up To £7286 Per Year

At 7:20pm on Monday night, under the cloak of everything going on with the Meaningful Vote debate, the Department for Work and Pensions sneaked out an announcement that the eligibility rules for couples wishing to claim Pension Credits would change from May 15th this year.

Under the current rules a couple can apply for Pension Credits once the older partner in the relationship reaches retirement age. The new rules mean that the couple would not be entitled to Pension Credits until both partners had reached retirement age.

Pension Credits are a benefit that tops up a pensioner’s income to a certain amount. In the case of a couple this amount (from April) will be ¬£255.25 per week, meaning the couple would be guaranteed a minimum income of ¬£13,273 per year. Read more

Meaningful Vote: What Exactly Are MPs Voting on?

UPDATE: The speaker has announced that Amendments a, k, b & f will provisionally be voted on tonight (you can find the text of these in the article below). The procedure will be as follows:

  1. Amendment (a) in the name of Jeremy Corbyn will be voted on and if passed the original motion as amended by Amendment (a) will be voted on. If Corbyn’s amendment is defeated we move on to step 2…
  2. ¬†Amendment (k) in the name of Ian Blackford will be voted on and if passed the original motion as amended by Amendment (k) will be voted on. If this amendment is defeated we move on to step 3…
  3. Amendment (b) in the name of Sir Edward Leigh will be voted on and if passed the original motion as amended by Amendment (b) will be voted on. If this amendment is defeated we move on to step 4…
  4. Amendment (f) in the name of John Baron will be voted on and if passed the original motion as amended by Amendment (f) will be voted on. If this amendment is defeated we move on to step 5…
  5. The original PM’s motion as is will be voted upon.

Original Article Below:

Finally the historic day of the “Meaningful Vote” is upon us, but what are MPs actually going to be voting on tonight?

The original motion as laid down by the Prime Minister reads:

“That this House approves for the purposes of section 13(1)(b) of the European Union¬†(Withdrawal) Act 2018, the negotiated withdrawal agreement laid before the House¬†on Monday 26 November 2018 with the title ‚ÄėAgreement on the withdrawal of the¬†United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and¬†the European Atomic Energy Community‚Äô and the framework for the future relationship¬†laid before the House on Monday 26 November 2018 with the title ‚ÄėPolitical Declaration
setting out the framework for the future relationship between the European Union and¬†the United Kingdom‚Äô.”

However in today’s Parliamentary Order Paper there are 13 amendments tabled to the Prime Minister’s motion and I will detail them below. How many of these get to be voted on is a decision for the Speaker of the House, John Bercow, to decide. He is free to choose as many of them as he likes and will announce his decision at the beginning of the debate this afternoon. Read more