Cameron rebuffs SNP EU demand as Sturgeon ramps-up independence rhetoric


SNP leader pledges to recommit party efforts to securing independence

PRIME MINISTER DAVID CAMERON has rebuffed SNP arguments to exempt Scotland from a potential UK EU exit despite a warning that the Scottish Government plans to win a majority for independence “within the next few years”.

In the House of Commons Cameron brushed off demands made by Angus Robertson, leader of the SNP’s Westminster group, that he clarify whether Scotland would leave the EU in the event that the UK voted to leave and Scotland voted to remain within the union of 28 states.

Quoted in the Herald , Cameron said: “Scotland had a referendum on whether to remain part of the United Kingdom. The Scottish First Minister (Alex Salmond), now an MP, signed with me the Edinburgh Agreement, that said both sides had to respect the outcome of that referendum. That is the only answer he needs.”

The comments came after a statement made by SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon in the Scottish Parliament, seen as the launch of the SNP’s bid for a landmark third term in government, in which the first minister raised the prospects of another challenge for independence.

Sturgeon told the parliament : “It is our job now to lead a renewed debate about how the enduring principle of the independence case – that decisions about Scotland are best taken by people who live here – is relevant to, indeed demanded by, the circumstances of the world we live in today.

“It is by making the case, positively and powerfully – and in a realistic and relevant way – that we will persuade those we didn’t persuade in 2014 and, over the next few years, turn 45 per cent into a majority.”

Nicola Sturgeon has long maintained that the circumstances where Scotland was forced to leave the EU against the will of the majority of Scots as part of an all UK decision would be potential grounds for a second independence referendum.

Cameron made the comments after conceding a free vote for Conservative minister in the forthcoming EU referendum, which could come in 2016 or 2017, a move criticised by pro-EU opposition MPs as endangering the UK’s place within the EU.

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Picture courtesy of European Parliament