THE SNP Government’s independence white paper is “wrong in international law” over claims that Scotland would get a share of the UK’s global embassies and consulates, MSPs have been told.
But a major row broke out at Holyrood’s European and External Relations committee today when opposition parties claimed a key witness had been “cut off” as he criticised SNP plans.
Professor Adam Tomkins, who was a member of the Tories’ recent devolution commission, claimed that Scotland would not be entitled to a “fair share” of the UK’s extensive overseas properties.
“The independence white paper gets it wrong,” he said.
“The United Kingdom’s diplomatic network, its embassies - I think it’s 267 embassies, High Commissions and Consulates in 254 countries around the world - would become the diplomatic mission of the rest of the UK in the event of independence.”
He added: “It’s unfortunate that the independence white paper - the most important document published in the lifetime of the Scottish Government - proceeds on an inaccurate footing as a matter of international law.”
The UK has almost 5,000 properties overseas and the white paper claims Scotland should get £150 million as a share of these assets.
But a row broke out when committee convenor Christina McKelvie stepped in when Prof Tomkins clashed with Nationalist Willie Coffey and ordered that the session move on to a different witness.
Labour’s Alex Rowley claimed the witness was being “cut off.”
“You can’t just cut somebody off because you don’t like the evidence, for goodness sake,” he said.