Labour’s Jackie Baillie: ‘Scotland needs independence to be a EU market member’
LABOUR’S ECONOMY SPOKESPERSON has u-turned on the party’s previous support for Scotland to remain within the European Union’s single market.
In a debate on the giant EU trading block, MSP and party spokesperson on the Economy, Fair Work and Jobs Jackie Baillie said the party wanted “access” to European markets and warned the Scottish Government from the “difficult to achieve” negotiating aim of full membership.
In contradiction to a host of recent Scottish Labour statements, Baillie argued that Scottish independence was required to gain full membership of European institutions.
“The SNP want continuing membership of the single market, but don’t tell us how this would be achieved. In truth, membership of the single market requires membership of the European Union. Scotland would need to be an independent country. And would then need to apply to join the EU as a new member state,” Baillie told the Scottish Parliament.
On that basis, Baillie said remaining in the single market would raise threats to Scotland’s economy – meaning she could not guarantee support for full membership.
Following the EU referendum, the SNP, Scottish Greens, Liberal Democrats and Scottish Labour united to support exploring options to maintain “Scotland’s place in the single market”.
In September Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said the party “supported” efforts to “retain our EU membership” in a letter to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
SNP MSP Bruce Crawford said Labour had voted for Single Market Membership – the rules, regulations, and limits on trade – five times since the June 23 referendum.
Crawford added he was “confused” by Labour position, as articulated by Baillie.
Ahead of the debate, the Scottish Labour press release made no mention of supporting membership of the European Single Market – instead focusing on relations between Scotland and the UK.
All 32 electoral areas of Scotland supported EU membership in June’s referendum – but this result was overwhelmed by the vote to leave the EU in England and Wales.
The Scottish Government is considering whether the country could get a specific deal to remain within the single market – either through the UK remaining inside the market or via membership of the European Free Trade Association.
A fresh independence referendum is also a possible route for Scotland maintaining membership of the European Union.
MSPs will vote on the government motion, and party ammendments, this evening [Tuesday 15 November].
Picture courtesy of Scottish Parliament TV
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