Voters in Scotland could play a crucial role in EU referendum result

With just days to go until the EU Referendum, the result of the vote is in the balance. Polls showing a lead for ‘Brexit’ should act as a wake-up call to anyone who assumed that it would be an easy win for the Remain side.

Voters in Scotland could play a crucial role in the result, with our voice helping to make a difference to the outcome. While I take nothing for granted, I believe Scotland will vote strongly to stay part of Europe – and that Scottish voters could increase the margin of victory for Remain.

I want to see a majority Remain vote in England, Wales and Northern Ireland as well. But given the potential strength of the pro-Europe sentiment in Scotland, I want to maximise the ‘in’ vote here in Scotland.

I support an independent Scotland, but I also support Scotland being in the EU – whether as an independent country or as part of the UK. However, this referendum is not about independence – it is about our continued place in Europe, with all the many benefits that brings.

Our membership of the EU means more opportunities, with more jobs, growth and investment as part of the world’s largest single market.

It safeguards valuable and hard fought social protections such as employment rights, maternity and paternity leave and equal rights. Leaving the EU means putting these rights in the hands of the Tories at Westminster – and given their determination to scrap the Human Rights Act and attack workers’ rights with their Trade Union Bill, I would be very worried about putting these social protections in their hands.

It means big savings – with lower prices in supermarkets, cheaper flights and lower phone charges when traveling.

Being in Europe means we can all travel, work, study and retire in the EU, without visas.

And, we can tackle global issues – like climate change and pollution – more effectively, together with our European partners.

These are just some of the benefits of being in Europe – benefits we must build on now and in the future.

So we can continue to enjoy these benefits and play our part in Europe, it is important that Scotland votes in big numbers to help secure a win for the Remain side, and ensures that our votes and our voices matter.