THE Scottish Trades Union Congress has voted in favour of holding a Scottish independence referendum with or without the UK Government’s consent.

At the 124th annual congress, held online due to the pandemic, delegates from more than 50 unions and trades union councils are meeting to discuss and vote on policies.

This afternoon the STUC Congress confirmed its support for self-determination – even if Westminster does not give its consent.

The motion added that if a majority of pro-independence MSPs are elected on May 6, the UK Government should not resist the holding of a new referendum.

READ MORE: Scottish independence: STUC say new vote should not be 'simple binary choice'

However, the motion added that the “priority” of the trade union movement is for a recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

After the vote, STUC general secretary Roz Foyer repeated her previous suggestions that a future referendum does not need to be a Yes/No binary choice.

The STUC Congress also voted to reject “tactical manoeuvring” for an independence supermajority, saying this would “undermine the sovereignty of the Scottish people who remain broadly divided on the question of independence”.

The text of the motion reads: “Congress believes that the right to hold a Referendum should lie with the Scottish Parliament as elected by its people.

“Congress calls on the general souncil to be proactive in ensuring this right to self-determination is upheld, including the holding of a referendum on independence, with or without the consent of the UK Government."

The Congress voted for a working group to be established to examine constitutional options, including devo-max, as well as the launch of a union-led constitutional convention.

Foyer commented: “Our vote today has re-affirmed the right of the Scottish people to self-determination and recognised that as the central democratic institution in Scotland, our parliament should have the power to determine whether and when to hold a second referendum.

“We have also made clear that any future referendum need not be confined to a binary choice if a meaningful third option is developed.

“But we have also asserted that economic and social recovery is our priority, and that radical policy is needed to achieve that in a way that redresses current imbalances of power and wealth. We will hold to account all parties of all political colours who take their eye off that ball.

READ MORE: STUC back new independence referendum if Internal Market Bill proceeds

“As a movement of over half a million people we naturally have divergent views on the outcome of any future referendum. We have resolved today to actively consult with our members and to play a leading role within Scottish civil society in this crucial debate.”

Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie welcomed the position and took aim at Scottish Labour chief Anas Sarwar.

“The position outlined by Scotland’s trade union movement recognises the fundamental right of self-determination," he said.

“The STUC rightly says that Scotland’s future is a matter for the people of Scotland, and if they choose to elect a parliament with a pro-independence majority then it should be for that parliament to hold a referendum.

The National:

“I’m sure many traditional Labour voters will find it incomprehensible that the Scottish Labour Party's position is at odds with this perfectly reasonable statement of democratic principles.

“Scotland’s future is at stake in this election. That’s why the Scottish Greens are asking the public to vote like our future depends on it. For bold climate action, to build a fair and green recovery, and to put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands, vote Green.”

Meanwhile, the SNP depute leader Keith Brown described the move as "significant". 

"There is simply no democratic, electoral or moral justification for any politician to block the right of the people of Scotland to choose a better future," he commented.

“A post-pandemic referendum will give people in Scotland the right to decide the kind of country we should be after the current crisis, protect our NHS from the threat of post-Brexit Tory trade deals, and halt the Tories' undermining of devolution through the damaging Internal Market Act.

"Scotland's right to choose its own future is a decision that lies solely with the people of Scotland - not out-of-touch Westminster governments that we don’t vote for."

You can read today's motion in full here