Scottish independence: John Major’s Yes vote fears

Sir John Major is concerned that the UK's international standing would be 'diminished' in the event of a Yes vote. Picture: John Devlin

Sir John Major is concerned that the UK's international standing would be 'diminished' in the event of a Yes vote. Picture: John Devlin

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FORMER prime minister Sir John Major has warned the UK’s international standing would be “diminished” should Scotland vote Yes in the independence referendum.

Sir John said he hopes Scotland will not vote to break away when it votes on September 18 and warned Britain would be “damaged”, leading to a decline in its role on the international stage including within the European Union and United Nations.

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It comes as leaders of all three major parties travel to Scotland to attempt to boost the No campaign in the wake of recent polls suggesting pro-independence supporters had seized a narrow lead.

Writing in the Times, the former Conservative prime minister said: “I believe Scotland and the whole of the UK as a whole would be damaged. We need one another and, if separated, would all face unwelcome and unanticipated change.

“If the UK lost Scotland, it would be diminished - be in no doubt about that. Our defence would be severely weakened. Trident would almost certainly be lost. Britain’s role as the second largest military force in the EU would be gone and, with it, many of our close ties to the United States.

“The UK would be weaker in every international body and, most damagingly, within the European Union. Our chance of reforming the EU would be diminished, and the risk of our exit from it enhanced. Britain’s place as a member of the permanent five of the United Nations would no longer be viable.”

Sir John, who said he opposed devolution 20 years ago, added a Yes vote could also lead to calls for independence from Wales.

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