Sturgeon crisis: Border fears risk halting independence plot – SNP politician raises alarm

We will use your email address only for sending you newsletters. Please see our Privacy Notice for details of your data protection rights.

Alex Neil, MSP for Airdrie and Shotts said there would be a “serious and significant” border with England if it was outside the EU while Scotland was back inside the trading bloc. Brexiteer Mr Neil, who served as a minister in Nicola Sturgeon’s Cabinet, warned voters could reject independence if it meant rejoining the EU and erecting checkpoints at the border with England.

Mr Neil stressed people had to be honest “about these matters” and added if Scotland was in a customs union such as the EU and the rest of the UK was out of it then “by definition” there were going to be “customs barriers at the border between Scotland and the rest of the UK”.

He added: “I don’t believe people in another independence referendum will vote for that.”

Nicola Sturgeon has expressed her desire for Scotland to rejoin the EU as she vowed to maintain the “closest possible ties” with the bloc.

She stressed: “It can’t be any clearer, Scotland does not want five years of Boris Johnson government and doesn’t want to lose its status as a European nation.”

This position was also reflected when 62 percent of Scots decided to remain in the EU in the historic 2016 Brexit vote.

But when asked about a hard border with England last year, the First Minister of Scotland said she “didn’t want borders”.

Mr Neil said an independent Scotland could join the European Free Trade Association rather than the EU.

He claimed this method could give Scotland free trade with not “just those in the EU but the entirety of Europe through what’s called the European Economic Area without the downside of being in a customs union, or many other downsides on fishing and other things in relation to EU membership.”

At the same time, a new report published by the Scottish Independence Convention (SIC) which brings together all the independence-supporting political parties, warns an independent Scotland should aim for a “smart” rather than a hard border with England.

This would mean revenue, immigration and safety functions would be checked not at “a line on a map” but at “the most appropriate, cost-effective and convenient real or virtual space.”

The report, called Independent Scotland’s Smart Borders said a hard border where everything and everyone is stopped and searched was “a ridiculous and almost cartoonish fiction, not resembling reality in any other European nation.”

DON’T MISS:  
Brexit-bashing peers back Labour plot against Boris’s trade plan [LATEST] 

Nicola Sturgeon UNDERMINED Brexit talks, fumes Michael Gove [INSIGHT]
Ian Blackford demands £98 BILLION in outrageous letter [REVEAL]

It added: “It is commonly accepted that an independent Scotland will seek to re-join pan-European institutions, either as part of EFTA or the EU.

“A departure from the UK’s approach to borders, allowing us to reimagine them for ourselves, is actually one of the key advantages independence will bring.”

Source: Read Full Article