Nicola Sturgeon’s pro-EU stance ‘odd’, says David Mundell

Scottish Secretary David Mundell. Picture: Getty Images
Scottish Secretary David Mundell. Picture: Getty Images
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Nicola Sturgeon’s support for keeping Scotland in the European Union while at the same time wanting to leave the UK will come under fire from Scottish Secretary David Mundell today.

Mr Mundell will also say the same so-called Project Fear tactics used by the No campaign during the Scottish independepence referendum campaign are likely to be used legitimately by the In camp ahead of the EU vote.

‘Pointing out dangers of leaving Europe is not a case of Project Fear, but Project Fact

David Mundell

In a speech at the Centre for European Reform, Mr Mundell will highlight “the social and economic advantages of the membership of the EU”.

He is expected to say: “If Scotland had voted to leave the United Kingdom, those who supported that outcome would have argued that we had achieved ‘freedom’ from the UK.

“But it would have been a false freedom, which would have restricted the life chances and opportunities available to people in Scotland. The same can be said of the choice we face in June.

“It is an odd situation for pro-independence campaigners to want to pull out of the UK but to want to remain in the EU.

“And it is an even more striking spectacle to see the champions of Scottish independence become advocates of the UK being better together, pooling and sharing as a part of the EU.

“They, rightly, talk up the importance of Scotland’s £11.6 billion EU export market, yet they argue that Scotland should leave the UK, a true single market which accounts for £48.5bn worth of trade for Scotland.”

He will dismiss Leave campaigners’ attempts to link warnings about the risks of leaving the EU to the “Project Fear” tag applied to those opposed to leaving the UK in the independence referendum, pointing out that many warnings have proven well-founded.

He will say: “Let’s take just one example – the oil revenues an independent Scotland would rely on. When No campaigners pointed out that their estimates of oil revenue were too optimistic, and that they were taking a risk with Scotland’s economy by relying on such a volatile commodity, we were dismissed. We’ve seen in the months since how right we were to raise those questions.”

He will add: “When people argue passionately for a major change, but play down the risks, be very wary. Pointing out the dangers and asking the difficult questions is not a case of Project Fear but Project Fact.”