Sturgeon: Brexit does not mean Brexit in Scotland

Posted By: July 14, 2016

Nicola Sturgeon
Nicola Sturgeon says ‘remain means remain’ in Scotland CREDIT: REUTERS

•  Auslan Cramb, scottish correspondent . The Telegraph. Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Nicola Sturgeon has claimed that Theresa May’s insistence that “Brexit means Brexit” does not apply to Scotland because it voted to remain in the EU.

  The First Minister, who was in London for a series of meetings on Wednesday, said she would seek talks with the new Prime Minister in the next few days and would call on her to make Scottish interests a priority.

  She also repeated her warning that a second independence referendummay be the best way for Scotland to stay in the EU, as a leading economist warned it was “far from certain” that an independent Scotland in the EU was even an “achievable aim”.

  Ms Sturgeon said she was interested to hear Mrs May say that Brexit means Brexit, adding: “Well, she has a mandate for that as far as England and Wales is concerned, but not for Scotland, not for Northern Ireland and not for Gibraltar.

  “From my point of view, from the Scottish perspective, remain means remain. As First Minister of Scotland, just as Theresa May has a mandate, I too have a mandate and that mandate is to respect the wishes of the people in Scotland and now to find a way to keep Scotland in the European Union.”

  The SNP leader, who earlier met Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, said she believed it was possible Scotland could remain in the Europe as part of the UK.

Mark Carney
  But she added: “The uncertainty that the British economy now faces is severe and the impact of the referendum vote on the British economy is likely to be severe.

  “If Scotland concludes that independence is the best way forward, once the UK government triggers Article 50, we will have a referendum within that two year process.”

  Ms Sturgeon told the BBC she hoped to develop a constructive relationship with Mrs May, while defending Scotland, and called on her to find an alternative to austerity as an early priority.

  At David Cameron’s last Prime Minister’s Questions, Angus Robertson, the SNP leader in Westminster, said his legacy would be taking Scots to the “brink of being taken out of the European Union”. SNP MPs refused to join in the applause for Mr Cameron as he signed off.

Angus Robertson
Angus Robertson at PMQs CREDIT: PA
  Meanwhile, a prominent economist said in a new paper that the most desirable outcome of Brexit would be achieving Norwegian status, by joining the European Economic Area (EEA), which would also mean accepting freedom of movement.

  Prof Jim Gallagher, of Oxford University’s Nuffield College, also warned of the major difficulties that would face an independent Scotland, including a hard border with England, and uncertainty over currency and even membership of the EU.

  He said it was a “fantasy” to imagine the UK could negotiate its own, bespoke, free trade agreement with the EU in any reasonable timescale.

  Prof Gallagher added that North Sea oil revenues were now virtually zero while Scotland’s fiscal deficit was huge and proportionately twice as large as the UK’s

  “The Scottish Government’s single most important priority should be to press the UK as hard as possible to take the Norway option, or something very close to it,” he said.

  “If it cannot achieved, Scotland faces the choice of a hard border at a European airport (if in the UK) or a hard border at a new Hadrian’s Wall.

  “A new Hadrian’s Wall along the Cheviots is just about the worst outcome for Scottish rade, and for the 400,000 Scots who live in England and the 200,000 English people living in Scotland.”

  He concluded: “No responsible Scottish government could promote independence without being sure of Scotland’s position in the EU and without knowing the likely position of the rest of the United Kingdom in relation to free movement and trade and without a practicable economic plan for public spending and the currency.”