Europe

You will lose! Sturgeon referendum hopes crushed as EU ‘would eat Scotland for breakfast

Nicola Sturgeon loses it in BBC interview after interruption

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Back in 2014, Scotland held a once-in-a-lifetime vote on whether the country should separate from the UK and the Scottish public voted in favour to remain part of the country. But the Scottish First Minister has continually called for a second referendum following Britain’s departure from the European Union.

But now, Alex Neil, the only SNP MSP to back Brexit, has warned Ms Sturgeon will lose another referendum if she links a Yes vote to Scotland rejoining the EU.

The former Health Secretary said: “Mixing up the decision on independence with the issue of EU membership would scupper the chances of success in IndyRef2 just as the currency issue did in the 2014 independence referendum.”

He also said Ms Sturgeon’s policy would be disastrous for Scotland if voters backed independence in spite of it.

Mr Neil claimed Brussels would exploit her mistake of promising to rejoin the EU.

He said EU negotiators would “eat an independent Scotland for breakfast” if it was “remotely stupid enough to sell the jerseys in this way”.

Last year, Ms Sturgeon said she would not separate the two issues and said a Yes vote would automatically lead to Scotland returning to the EU.

However, Mr Neil said it would be a “huge and unnecessary hostage to fortune which the No side would exploit”.

He told the Herald: “Under Nicola’s scenario we would be asking people to vote for EU membership without the Scottish people knowing what they are being asked to vote for.

“We won’t know what concessions we will be forced to make on issues like fishing rights in Scottish waters in order to satisfy these 27 member states.

“In effect, we will be asking the Scottish people to sign a blank cheque to the EU and to endorse membership terms and conditions without knowing what they are.

“No negotiator worth their salt would weaken Scotland’s bargaining position in this way.”

An SNP spokesperson said: “People in Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU yet we were dragged out against our will.

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“Brexit is now making us all poorer, it has caused untold damage to key Scottish industries and led to labour and supply shortages across the economy.

“Independence offers the people of Scotland the chance to repair the damage Brexit has caused by rejoining the world’s largest trading bloc and restoring our freedom of movement with 27 other countries.

“Last May the people of Scotland returned the SNP to Government, with an increased vote share, on a clear manifesto commitment to hold an independence referendum that offers them a better future as an independent country in the EU.“

Ms Sturgeon and her ruling Government have continued to call for Scotland to rejoin the EU if it were to win independence.

The SNP leader has tried to use Brexit as a mandate to force another referendum, arguing the UK’s departure from the EU was completed against the will of the Scottish people, who voted by a margin of 62 percent to 38 percent in 2016.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has refused to cave to those demands, insisting the first referendum from June 2016 was a “once in a generation event”.

Ms Sturgeon claimed Scotland was taken out of the EU “against the will” of the country, who voted to remain part of the bloc.

She said: “Scotland is a country and not a region of a unitary state.

“Scotland’s position is therefore unique – a country, in a voluntary union, which has been removed from the EU against the will of the majority who live here.”

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