So, Scotland will quit the United Kingdom if the vote in June goes against remaining in the European Union, will it? If you are a fervent Scottish nationalist you may be hoping so. If you are a worried pro-EU unionist you may be fearing so. And even if you are neither of these, you may have got the general impression that it is likely. But I say this: don’t jump to conclusions. Interviewed by Andrew Marr on Sunday, the SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon came close to promising a second independence vote if Britain votes to leave. The shift in Scottish opinion would be “inescapable” and there would “almost certainly” be a second vote, she said. The next day the party’s Westminster leader, Angus Robertson, said Scots “will demand” a referendum if they are “forced out” of the EU. Now, it is true that all these statements leave some wiggle room. “Almost certainly” is not the same as … [Read more...] about Think a Brexit vote would push Scotland out of the UK? Think again
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Is Britain about to leave the European Union? Maybe. A referendum is likely to be held in June, and Britain’s exit is a very real possibility. Why is this happening? The question of Britain’s future in Europe has been a growing obsession since the late 1980s, particularly in the popular press and sections of the Conservative party. When the Conservatives came into power in 2010 they were forced to form a coalition government, in part because their vote had been eroded by the rise of the rightwing UK Independence Party (Ukip). As its name suggests, Ukip’s core aim is to secure Britain’s exit from the EU via a new referendum. Under pressure from the right of his party, and hoping to see off the Ukip threat before the 2015 election, Cameron gave a “cast iron pledge” that he would renegotiate terms with Europe and deliver a referendum on membership of the EU if his party won the next general election – which it did. Cameron’s hope is that … [Read more...] about UK’s EU referendum explained: will Britain leave the European Union?
The government is not “match fit” for the next phase of Brexit negotiations, Theresa May’s former special adviser on exiting the EU has said. Raoul Ruparel, who was credited with coming up with the Northern Ireland solution which helped Boris Johnson seal a Brexit deal with the EU, says lessons need to be learned from the mistakes of May’s government. “As it stands, the UK does not yet appear ‘match-fit’ for the next phase of negotiations,” he says. “There is a huge amount of work to be done to flesh out the detail of what the UK wants from its future relationship with the EU, and Whitehall is not yet ready to negotiate such a complex and wide-ranging agreement, nor implement it.” May’s former adviser says that contrary to what many believe “it is possible to negotiate a free trade agreement with the EU by the end of next year”. But he warns that it could only be “narrow” in scope. In a report for … [Read more...] about UK not ‘match fit’ for Brexit talks, says former May aide
What a difference an election victory makes. Suddenly, everyone is rushing to be Boris’s friend. Those Conservatives who spent years fulminating against him are now praising him to the skies (yes, you, Alan Duncan). Labour-supporting BBC types who had written him off are coming to grips with the scale of his victory. Nigel Farage – who spent the election campaign laying into Boris’s EU deal, and whose candidates cost the Tories at least a dozen seats – is now preposterously trying to claim credit for the Conservatives’ success. Nigel Farage – who spent the election campaign laying into Boris’s EU deal is now preposterously trying to claim credit for the Conservatives’ success In Brussels, too, there is a very different mood. Charles Michel, who heads the European Council, looks forward to concluding a deal with the PM ‘as soon as possible’. Alan Duncan former MP for Rutland and Melton resigned in July Leo … [Read more...] about After years of ‘Non!’, we are no longer a supplicant: Tory MP DANIEL HANNAN argues that EU politicians will be much more likely to give concessions to UK now Boris Johnson has a majority in Parliament
Let’s call it Project Fear 2.0. As the remain campaign moves up the gears, it has the considerable advantage of a road-tested playbook. In the run-up to the 2014 Scottish referendum, the UK government and, in particular, the Treasury set about frightening the voting natives with a series of high-profile warnings of the apocalypse that would surely follow any breakup of the union. In an unprecedented breach of civil service protocol, the permanent secretary to the Treasury, Sir Nicholas Macpherson, published his private advice to the chancellor. It homed in on what would become a key issue – the refusal to allow an independent Scotland to continue using sterling. His letter to George Osborne concluded: “I would advise you against entering a currency union with an independent Scotland. There is no evidence that adequate proposals or policy changes … could be devised, agreed and implemented by both governments in the foreseeable future.” Not unexpectedly it … [Read more...] about The EU referendum is already following the Scottish playbook, Project Fear 2.0