Campaign spokesperson claims financial and devolution questions are are scare stories
OPPONENTS of the EU in Scotland have rejected fears that a UK exit would leave the country with “no say whatsoever” in subsequent negotiations.
With polls UK-wide too close to call, Nicola Sturgeon commented in parliament on how the government would respond to a Brexit scenario – promising to “protect” Scotland’s relationship with the EU.
The UK-wide campaign has not confirmed what its negotiating position would be, yet the official campaign in Scotland hopes that the Scottish Government would be involved in the process.
"Scottish Vote Leave hopes that the first minister will make an early intervention, following a Leave vote, and make the case for her – as well as her fellow first ministers from Wales and Northern Ireland – to be included in the UK negotiating team,” a spokesperson told CommonSpace.
The call follows scepticism from pro-EU campaigner and SNP candidate Toni Giugliano that Westminster, which would have the full legal authority to negotiate, would give Scotland a meaningful say in any talks.
“The first minister’s efforts would certainly be more productively spent as part of the UK’s negotiating team than in high-profile but ultimately pointless attempts to generate publicity by pretending that she can negotiate separate, continuing Scottish membership of the EU.” Leave campaign spokesperson
Giugliano told CommonSpace: “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.”
Any vote for upheaval in the UK’s relationship with Europe would also raise challenges for the operation of devolved governments.
The Scottish Leave campaign are keen to emphasise that powers removed from the EU would automatically be devolved to Scotland under the terms of the Scotland Act 1998 (which lists reserved competencies, with all non-listed legal responsibilities automatically devolved).
“In the event of the UK leaving the EU, the Scotland Act 1998 will be the guide as to which of Brussels’ powers will come directly to Holyrood, as concluded by Professor Drew Scott of Edinburgh University, the former advisor to the Scottish Government,” the Leave campaign continued.
“There has been no suggestion by anyone (other than a few voices in the Remain camp) that ‘emergency legislation’ would be enacted or that any attempt to reserve functions that are already devolved (ie, fishing and agriculture) to Westminster would occur. That can be dismissed as yet another scare story.”
The UK Parliament has the power to alter the Scotland Act to prevent powers going to the Scottish Parliament. However, such unilateral action would be highly controversial – following the promises to support further devolution since the independence referendum.
A Leave vote would also require further financial discussions on how the grant currently spent at an EU level would divided within the UK.
Ex-SNP leaders Alex Salmond and Gordon Wilson have called for negotiations between the Scottish Government and the EU, on the basis of representing Scotland’s national interests if the public back a Remain vote.
The Scottish Greens also called for the Scottish Parliament to unite around maintaining Scotland’s EU position, if the rest of the UK opts to Leave.
However, the Leave campaign has warned Sturgeon against attempting to keep Scotland inside the EU.
A spokesperson told CommonSpace: “The first minister’s efforts would certainly be more productively spent as part of the UK’s negotiating team than in high-profile but ultimately pointless attempts to generate publicity by pretending that she can negotiate separate, continuing Scottish membership of the EU after a UK vote for Leave.”
The result of the EU vote will be known by early morning of Friday 24 June.
Picture courtesy of Fife flickr
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