Grassroots group Yes for EU has official launch on Europe Day

A NEW grassroots group calling for Scottish independence and full membership of the EU was officially launched yesterday.

The virtual launch of Yes for EU, which took place on Europe Day, had music and speeches from campaigners outlining their reasons for backing indyref2 and rejoining the EU.

Sam Page, vice-convener of Yes for EU, said the organisation has grown out of the Edinburgh4Europe group, which campaigned for a People’s Vote following Brexit as part of the European Movement in Scotland.

She said: “We had a lot of discussion about whether we should be supporting independence or not.

“And after a lot of debate, we decided it would be better to form our own group because the mother organisation Edinburgh4Europe wanted to remain neutral on the issue. Around 30 Edinburgh4Europe activists have come to join our group, and more are joining us now from across Scotland.

“We are beginning to grow now word is getting out – even though we’re in lockdown, we thought we need to get established, because as soon as we’re released we need to get out there on the campaign trail.”

Page said the group also wanted to have a cross-party focus.

She said: “We recognise at the moment it is only the SNP and the Scottish Greens who support independence.

“But both the Scottish LibDems and Scottish Labour have been supportive of staying in the EU in the past.

“We think we can do some work lobbying them, at least for a referendum, so that people can then make it their own choice.”

Page said she had moved from the south-west of England to Edinburgh just over 18 months ago as a direct result of the vote to leave the EU.

“My son and I both decided that we couldn’t stay in the ‘Brexity’ part of the south-west anymore and we decided to move up to Edinburgh,” she said.

“There was a growing racism and I was really shocked by some of the views I was hearing.

“We came up for a weekend and we thought that seems like a good idea if I sell the house and move. But I’m not alone – according to the estate agent there’s quite a few of us.”

Yesterday, SNP MP Alyn Smith renewed calls by the party for a two-year extension to the Brexit transition period to mark Europe Day, which is held annually to celebrate peace and unity.

He said: “ I am urging Boris Johnson to re-think bull-dozing ahead with Brexit and extend the transition period for two years so that all of us in Europe can focus on protecting our economies amidst this crisis.”

The SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford met with opposition leaders last week after calling for cross-party efforts to put pressure on the UK Government to delay Brexit.

He said: “I had a productive meeting with opposition leaders on Wednesday, where it became apparent there was consensus on many issues for most of us – including extending the Brexit transition.”

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