Sturgeon's independence plot in tatters: EU ‘would demand checkpoints on English border'

SNP’s plan for independence ‘not very clear’ says Gordon Brown

The report entitled ‘An EU border across Britain: Scotland’s borders after independence’ for The UK in a Changing Europe think tank warns Brexit has made Scottish independence increasingly more challenging, particularly in relation to the management of borders. If Scotland achieves independence and rejoins the EU, the think tank warned the Anglo-Scottish border “would become not just an international border between Scotland and what remains of the UK, but a new land border between the EU and the UK”.

This means some of the cross-border arrangements for an independent Scotland that had been forecast during the unsuccessful referendum in 2014 would no longer be possible as a result of the UK leaving the EU.

Professors Katy Hayward and Nicola McEwen found an independent Scotland would have to ensure all goods and services entering the country meet strict EU standards.

This would “require setting up a system of border management for Scotland’s land and sea borders”, that would spark “new challenges” for the land border with England.

It also warned “some form of border control and inspection facilities” would likely be needed along the main roads leading into Scotland, such as the M74, A1 and A68.

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Nicola Sturgeon’s plan for Scotland to rejoin the EU after independence have suffered a blow (Image: GETTY)

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Nicola Sturgeon is pressing ahead with a second referendum on Scottish independence (Image: GRETTY)

The report warned it is “vital” any future prospectus or White Paper on independence from the ruling SNP Government looked at how it would manage the border issue.

The authors wrote: “As an EU member-state, Scotland would have to follow and apply EU customs and regulatory rules on goods circulating within it,” the authors wrote.

“This would change the status of the Scottish land border – 96 miles) of it – and the experience of crossing it.”

Professor McEwen from the University of Edinburgh, said: “Rejoining the EU as an independent member state would open up Scotland’s borders to Europe, reviving opportunities for the free movement of goods, services, people and finance.

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Scots voted against independence during a referendum in 2014 (Image: GETTY)

“But at the same time, it would mean a new EU border across between Scotland and the rest of the UK, requiring new processes, infrastructure and bureaucracy to oversee Scotland’s trading relationship with the rest of the UK.”

Professor Hayward from Queen’s University Belfast, added: “The realities and complexities of titanic projects that change relationships between neighbouring countries can often become most evident at the borders between them.

“Just as we have seen with post-Brexit Britain, an independent Scotland in the EU would change the ‘what, how and where’ of movement across its borders.

“This would have ramifications for Scotland’s neighbours, as well as for itself.”

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Boris Johnson has rejected calls from the SNP for IndyRef2 (Image: GETTY)

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The UK formally left the EU just over a year ago (Image: GETTY)

Scottish Conservative constitution spokesperson Donald Cameron argued the SNP has not made a “convincing case” about border management with England following independence.

He warned: “Hundreds of thousands of jobs that are reliant on trade with the rest of the United Kingdom would be at risk in the event of independence.”

In response to the report Pamela Nash, chief executive of the pro-UK campaign group Scotland in Union, warned the requirement of a hard border would have a “devastating impact on businesses”.

She said: “It’s time for some honesty from the SNP about the reality of leaving the UK.

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Independence could prove to be extremely costly for Scotland (Image: EXPRESS)

“The nationalist plans for separation would necessitate building a hard border with a devastating impact on businesses. It wouldn’t be a choice made by the rest of the UK – it would be a requirement forced upon a separate Scotland.

“Our trade with the rest of the UK is three times our trade with every country in the EU put together.

“Rather than build a barrier between friends and families, we have a successful future ahead of us as part of the UK, helping businesses grow, investing in schools and hospitals, and uniting our communities.”

But SNP MSP Alasdair Allan defended the plans from Ms Sturgeon for Scottish independence.

He said: “The paper says border arrangements will need to be spelled out ahead of the forthcoming independence referendum and, as the First Minister has confirmed, that work has already started.

“Of course Brexit has already made Scotland poorer and is projected to inflict greater long-term damage to our economy than even the pandemic.”

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