Brexit negotiations would leave Scotland with “no say whatsoever”, says Toni Giugliano #EUref


English vote against the EU would be opportunity for Scotland to join as independent state

A VOTE to leave the European Union would excluded Scotland’s government from crucial negotiations and give right-wingers “free reign”, according to pro-EU campaigner Toni Giugliano.

Giugliano, warning of the uncertainty following a Brexit vote, told CommonSpace that there is no legal basis for representing Scottish interests within the crucial negotiations that would follow such a vote. 

Anti-EU campaigners in Scotland have called for the SNP to demand inclusion within any negotiations, to ensure devolution of further powers to the Holyrood parliament. Yet Giugliano dismisses hopes that Westminster negotiators would prioritise Scottish interests.

“Scotland will have no say whatsoever in negotiations – London will call the shots, and the Tories, left to their own devices, will have free reign to implement their neoliberal agenda in full,” he told CommonSpace. 

Ex-Labour MP Tom Harris, and director of Vote Leave Scotland, claims extra powers would automatically accrue to the Scottish Parliament after a vote to leave the EU

This follows warnings from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon that those leading the Leave campaign – Boris Johnston, Nigel Farage, and Michael Gove – would institute a ‘right-wing power grab’ if the UK votes to Leave. 

There is no clear plan for how the negotiations would transpire if the UK voted to Leave. Legally, the EU Commission negotiates with the government of the member state – which is the government at Westminster. 

However, a senior party sources at the Scottish Parliament said there would be immediate cross-party demands for the Scottish Government to be represented in such negotiations. 

Giugliano said he does not trust those Leave campaigners who would seek to negotiate on the UK’s behalf: “Why on earth would anyone in Scotland want to give Boris, Farage or Gove the chance to govern on a plate? These politicians don't believe in a publicly funded NHS. They don't believe in workers rights. They think environmental laws are a burden on businesses – and this Tory government took Brussels to court for proposing a cap on bankers’ bonuses.”

In contrast Leave campaigners paint a rosy picture of Brexit for Scotland. Ex-Labour MP Tom Harris, and director of Vote Leave Scotland, claims extra powers would automatically accrue to the Scottish Parliament – and further negotiations would be possible with UK authorities. 

Ex-SNP leader calls for Scottish negotiations with European Union 

In a letter to Nicola Sturgeon, Harris wrote: “While some important policy areas would automatically, by default, revert to the jurisdiction of Holyrood (fishing and agriculture, for example), there could be other opportunities where you could influence the negotiations to Scotland's advantage. One of these areas is immigration or, more specifically, work visas.”

But there is no detailed post-referendum plan, beyond the UK Leave campaign calling for six pieces of Westminster legislation.

If Scotland voted to stay while the overall UK result is to Leave the EU, further doubts will emerge about the constitutional future of the UK – with pressure for referendums in Northern Ireland and Scotland. 

“Scotland will have no say whatsoever in negotiations – London will call the shots.” Toni Giugliano

Giugliano supports holding a second independence referendum if Scotland and the rest of the UK diverge on the referendum result; and believes that Scottish membership of the EU could be easier after a Brexit vote.

“The work of Merijn Chamon and Guillaume Van der Loo appears to be the common view in Brussels,” Giugliano told CommonSpace. 

“Essentially Scotland would become the successor state, and you would simply be adapting the terms of the UK’s EU membership to Scotland but adjusting them to Scotland’s size (EU budget contribution, revise MEP numbers and voting rights etc). So arguably it would be easier for Scotland to become an independent EU member state via Brexit than it would have been in 2014/2016.”

Queen Mary University of London academic Professor Sionaidh Douglas-Scott has said that Scotland could remain part of the EU with the rest of the UK outside – on the model adopted by Greenland (which is part of Denmark, but outside the EU while Denmark remains a member). 

However, any such agreement would require political will from EU, UK and Scottish institutions. 

Picture: BBC News Channel

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