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No-go result for indy ref

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By Abbey Morton
Annan and Eskdale

A MOVE which could have led to a regional referendum on independence crashed and burned on Tuesday.

Councillor Peter Diggle, of the Independent Conservative party, had requested the region be allowed to hold its own referendum on whether or not it should remain as part of the UK or leave in the event of another Scottish independence referendum.

But at Tuesday’s meeting of Dumfries and Galloway Full Council his official motion received just eight votes of support, compared with 28 against.

Instead, the majority of elected members backed an opposing amendment that described his bid as ‘highly speculative’.

Speaking at the meeting, council leader Ronnie Nicholson said while he was opposed to another Scottish independence referendum, he didn’t think it was a priority for the local authority.

He said: “I think the public will be appalled if, given the huge challenges we face as a council, councillors are spending their time debating motions such as this when every single one of us should be working night and day to deliver a balanced budget that protects services as best we can.

“With all due respect to all members’ views on the constitution, you’ve made your point.

“Could I suggest that we focus on what matters to the people we are here to serve.”

Reflecting on his efforts and reacting to the result, Councillor Diggle said he was surprised with the votes.

He said: “As you would expect I was disappointed that we lost the vote.

“Funnily enough I wasn’t expecting to get the SNP vote, but I was hoping that the pro-Union councillors would support the motion.

“It seems odd to me that as Dumfries and Galloway voted 65.7 per cent to stay in the United Kingdom in 2014 that the council has denied the residents the democratic right to have a regional referendum and that we now face the prospect of being taken out of the United Kingdom against our will should another Scottish independence referendum take place.

“If we had adopted this motion we would have been able to keep our options open.”

However, Councillor Diggle has taken some positives from his attempt and said: “Since the meeting my phone has never stopped with constituents congratulating me for taking this motion forward.”

Annan and Eskdale

24th May

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