US politicians warn Yes vote could weaken security

Sir Menzies Campbell said there was concern in Washington about how independence would affect the 'unique relationship in the sharing of intelligence' between the UK and US. Picture: TSPL

Sir Menzies Campbell said there was concern in Washington about how independence would affect the 'unique relationship in the sharing of intelligence' between the UK and US. Picture: TSPL

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SENIOR members of the United States Congress have stated their opposition to Scotland’s potential exit from the UK, with leading figures in Washington warning a Yes vote could weaken America’s “national security priorities”.

In a stark intervention amid growing concern among the US political elite about the prospect of a vote for independence next month, leading congressman have tabled a resolution backing Scotland’s place in the UK.

Members of the House of Representatives suggested that the “unprecedented depth of cooperation” between Britain and America would be put at risk if Scotland left the UK.

The resolution, which evokes the “special relationship” between Britain and America, is signed by 27 members of the House but it is thought to have wider support in the 435-member chamber. The intervention followed that of Barack Obama when he said he wanted a “strong, robust” and “united” Britain and signalled that he favoured a No vote.

Senior figures in the No campaign last night seized on the resolution, signed by those on the left and right of politics.

Former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell said there was widespread concern in Washington about how independence would affect the “unique relationship in the sharing of intelligence” between the UK and US. He said: “This resolution is a serious expression of opinion.

“The signatories have rightly recognised that the decision is for Scottish people alone but following President Obama’s previous intervention on this matter, there can be no doubt about the level of American concern.”

However, the Yes campaign hit back as it claimed independence would enable the Scottish Parliament to “grow our economy and make an even bigger contribution on the global stage”.

Democrat politician Brad Sherman of California – who is behind the Congressional assault on independence – stated the US needed a “strong ally which maintains its military, intelligence and cyber defence capacities” which he said a “strong, unified” UK would deliver.

The remarks from Mr Sherman, a senior member of the House foreign affairs committee, suggest there is deep-rooted concern in Washington at the SNP Government’s plan to scrap the UK’s Trident missile capability at Faslane on the Clyde.

The resolution, signed by “some of the most conservative Republicans to the most liberal Democrats” has been lodged on a similar basis to a Commons or Holyrood motion that allows politicians to state a position on an issue without it being voted.

The Congressmen cite Winston Churchill’s leadership in the Allied effort during the Second World War as an example of the strength of a united UK during a global conflict.

They also spoke of Scotland’s “profound effect on the United States throughout its history”, in reference to the millions of Americans who trace their ancestry to Scotland.

The resolution “expresses deep friendship toward the Scottish people” and “respects the right of the Scottish people to make their decision”.

Other Congressional backers of the resolution include Eliot Engel, the chief Democrat on the House foreign affairs committee, and Republican Dana Rohrabacher, chairman of a sub-committee on Europe.

A spokesman for Yes Scotland said: “It’s great to know that Scotland has so many friends and admirers, and we know they will all continue to be our friends and admirers after we vote Yes on 18 September.

“We’re sure that everyone who genuinely has Scotland’s interests at heart will be delighted in future years to see a fairer and more prosperous Scotland emerge using the great opportunities of independence to grow our economy and make an even bigger contribution on the 
global stage.”

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