White Paper is ‘wrong in international law’

The White Paper is 'wrong in international law' over Scotland's claim to UK's embassies and consulates. Picture: PA
The White Paper is 'wrong in international law' over Scotland's claim to UK's embassies and consulates. Picture: PA
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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.