“The answer to both questions is yes,” declared Former First Minister Alex Salmond when asked by ITV if leaving the EU would lead to Scottish independence and whether Scotland could technically remain a member of the bloc.
“Yes, because if you go back 18 months to the Scottish referendum, one of the big arguments that David Cameron was making was ‘look, you are going to jeopardise Scotland’s position in the European Union’. It sounds a bit ironic now but that was what was being said. So the circumstances have changed if that situation came about.(…) Could it happen practically? Well, the answer to that is yes as well. Why? Because…if the UK votes out, there’s a two-year period under the Lisbon treaty. And what would happen then is Scotland would negotiate its position and, effectively, Scotland would just stay in and the rest of the UK would move out. So it’s a yes to both questions.”
The Gordon MP also pointed out that SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon made her approach clear last year during the general election, and that it resulted in 56 out of 59 seats going to the Scottish National Party (SNP).
Scottish fund manager echoes Salmond’s sentiment
In an interview with BBC Radio’s Today programme, leading Scottish investment fund manager Martin Gilbert warned of how Brexit can prompt a second Scottish independence referendum.
“Brexit will certainly put a Scottish referendum back on the table. Scotland is more pro Europe than England…and my great fear is it would inevitably lead to the break-up of the UK,” he said.
Martin Gilbert is the co-founder and chief executive of Aberdeen Asset Management, and his remark came just 24 hours after similar sentiments being voiced for the first time by Downing Street official Alex Salmond.
Scottish independence referendum 2014
A referendum on Scottish independence was carried out on 18 September 2014. The referendum question was “Should Scotland be an independent country?”
The referendum was won by the no side, with 2,001,926 votes against 1,617,989. This translates into 55.3 percent no votes and 44.7 percent yes votes.
The turnout was a staggering 84.6 percent, the highest recorded turnout for any election or referendum in the history of the United Kingdom since the introduction of universal suffrage.
Unlike many other UK elections and referenda, you didn’t have to be 18 years of age, nor a British citizen to vote in the Scottish independence referendum. With some exceptions, all European Union (EU) citizens or Commonwealth citizens resident in Scotland aged 16 or over were eligible to vote. This meant a total voting stock of nearly 4.3 million people.
Prominent issues during the campaign leading up to the referendum was:
- Which currency would an independent Scotland use?
- How would independence impact public expenditure?
- How would independence impact EU membership?
- How would independence impact North Sea oil extraction?