State question

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Douglas Turner (Letters, 9 May) produces evidence which
appears to challenge the claim that Scotland is not currently a member state of the EU and
cannot therefore “continue” to be one.

The “statements” he quotes come from Enlightening the Constitutional Debate, a book produced by the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the British Academy for the Humanities and Social Sciences. It contains summaries – not verbatim transcripts – of talks given at the Royal Society which can be viewed on its website.

Surprisingly, the summarised version of Professor Neal Walker’s talk is inaccurate on the
crucial point. It contains the phrase: “ensuring that Scotland is able to remain an EU member state”. His actual words – “to ensure that a new Scottish state should be accepted within the EU” – give the opposite meaning.

Mr Graham Avery in his talk says that Scotland has “been a member for the last 40 years by being within the UK”. The italicised words are omitted from the summary. But the notion that Scotland is “in” the EU by being a part of the UK and is therefore
itself a “member (state)” is erroneous as Mr Avery goes on later to confirm himself by saying: “in the pre-independence period Scotland would not yet be a member state of the EU”.

The evidence of these experts would seem to confirm my own admittedly non-expert view on the question of current EU
status. It is worth listening to what is also said about “difficult negotiations” over some aspects of the terms.

Colin Hamilton

Braid Hills Avenue

Edinburgh