Gordon Brown cautions against Scottish independence vote

Nicola Sturgeon is meeting with EU leaders today to discuss Scotland's options


As Nicola Sturgeon meets with EU leaders in Brussels, Gordon Brown has warned against ‘being seduced by what might look like easy options’ and blindly embracing Scottish independence. 

Speaking in Edinburgh on the aftermath of the EU referendum, Brown said:

“The Scottish government have suggested that their objective is to retain Scotland’s position in the European single market by leaving the United Kingdom.

“They have even suggested that under Article 50 Scotland could be designated the UK’s successor state in the European Union.

“The danger is that we become trapped in a debate between the Conservatives who settle for Britain without Europe and the Nationalists who settle for Europe without Britain.”

“But because there are lessons to be drawn from a traumatic week, I want to caution about a rush of judgment and being seduced by what may look like easy options.  In the hope that Scotland should not make the same mistakes as Britain, we should make calm and considered judgements based on facts.”

As part of a wide-ranging speech, Brown suggested that it would be reckless to endanger Scotland’s trade relationship with the UK in favour of its relationships with Europe, pointing out that 65 per cent of Scottish exports are to the rest of the UK, compared with just 15 per cent to the rest of Europe.

A new poll published this morning by the Scottish Daily Mail showed 53 per cent support for independence (with ‘don’t knows’ removed).

‘This poll is another strong endorsement of the actions of the First Minister,’ SNP MSP Derek Mackay commented.

‘When faced with the choice between being taken out of the EU against our will by a right wing Tory government, or continuing as outward looking, independent members of the EU more and more people are open to the possibilities independence brings.’

The Scottish government has won significant support from Europe in recent days. SNP MEP Alyn Smith won a standing ovation in the European Parliament yesterday for his speech on European identity, and plea to to the parliament not to let Scotland down.

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