The UK’s weight and influence in the world could decline if Scotland leaves the Union, according to an international relations expert.
Scottish independence could have a “profound impact” on the remainder of the UK’s (rUK) political standing in the European Union, its influence with the US and its image in the rest of the world, according to Kent University professor of politics and international relations Richard Whitman.
RUK would “cease to be one of the EU’s big three” with a population smaller than Italy and military capabilities subordinate to those of France, Prof Whitman wrote in an article for the European Policy Centre think-tank.
Prof Whitman, who gave evidence to the Commons foreign affairs committee last month, said rUK could face “difficult choices” about foreign policy and expenditure, and questions over its seat on the United Nations Security Council, particularly if its Scottish-based nuclear weapons are affected.
He predicted that the Scottish referendum “would precede a possible vote on the UK’s continued membership of the EU which looks set to be called by whatever government wins the 2015 general election”.