AN independent Scotland would be damaging for the north of England and put thousands of jobs at risk, a Labour MP claimed today.
In a Westminster Hall debate Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson also warned that Scotland breaking away would undermine efforts to bring in social justice in England.
In an article jointly written with shadow Scottish Secretary Margaret Curran ahead of his debate he said: “When Scotland makes its decision later this year, most people in the North of England will look across the border hoping that Scots choose to remain part of the UK.
“The referendum in September is rightly a decision for Scots, but the impact will be felt by people across the whole of the UK. And for people living in the North, the effect of any separation will be felt closer to home.”
Appealing to a sense of shared values, he went on: “Most people in the north don’t want Scotland to go. Culturally, socially and politically, the north and Scotland have always shared a common view of life. It’s an outlook that’s often closer than the one with the South East of England.
“And if you grew up in the North East in the 1970s or 1980s, Scottish voices were never far away. Not just in the towns and cities, but on the football field where some of Scotland’s best talent made their names.”
He also appealed to the shared history of fighting for jobs in the miners strike 30 years ago when people in the north of Engl;and “stood shoulder to shoulder” with people in Scotland against the Thatcher government.
He said: “Miners in Midlothian were as much under threat from Margaret Thatcher and the Tory Government as those in Durham. They knew that it was working people together who would take on the Tories.”
He also pointed out that 150,000 Scots have made their homes in the north of England and warned that Scottish Nationalism threatened to break up families and undermine the common bonds.
“The bonds we have built over the years have only been strengthened by Scots coming to live and work, and often build a family, in the North of England. These aren’t bonds just built through political union. They have been built through family and friendship.
“This is what Alex Salmond and the Nationalists in Scotland want to put at risk. They tell Scots that England will be Scotland’s ‘biggest pal’, but in the same breath suggest that England is a bully and that Scotland shouldn’t be ‘bought and sold for English Gold’.”
On jobs he said: “They [the SNP] try to convince Northerners that Scottish independence might even be good for them, without being honest about what their plans for a corporation tax haven would mean for jobs in the North.
“And in their campaign to separate Scotland from the rest of the UK, they are trying to break up those strong bonds that have been built through centuries of working together.
“And with no clear plans about what currency Scotland would use, that only spells uncertainty for the thousands of companies in the North east and North west who trade directly with Scottish businesses.”