Former Scottish Secretary Lord Forsyth has branded the SNP’s support for remaining in the EU a “cruel lie” and insists the Scottish Government is an irrelevance in Brussels.
The Tory peer even quoted the historic Declaration of Arbroath, often used by Nationalists to espouse the principle of Scottish independence, to make the case for leaving the EU.
It comes as former Liberal Democrat leader Ming Campbell, a prominent Remain campaigner, urges young Scots to get out an vote to stay in the EU in next month’s referendum.
Lord Forsyth, who was Scottish Secretary between 1995 and 1997, pointed to the Scottish Government’s plans for a minimum alcohol price which have stalled after legal challenge to the EU courts, ahead of a Vote Leave rally tonight.
He is expected to tell the audience in Stirling: “The SNP must be the first nationalist movement in the history of the world campaigning for their country to be subject to the diktat of an unelected supra national bureaucracy.
“The Scottish Government, even when it had a majority in Parliament, could not introduce minimum pricing for alcohol as it was overruled by the European Court of Justice.
“Minimum pricing may or may not be a bad thing but it should be for elected politicians rather than unelected EU judges to decide.” He added: “The Scottish Government is of no consequence in Brussels which now accounts for more than half our laws and regulations.”
The UK has voted 72 times in the Council of Ministers against laws which are against the national interest, the peer added, but lost 72 times at a cost to taxpayers of £2.4 billion.
Lord Forsyth also said prominent Nationalist Jim Sillars now wants to leave the EU after helping devise the SNP’s slogan of ‘Independence in Europe’.
“It is now a cruel lie,” he said of the mantra.
“The nationalists regard the Declaration of Arbroath with reverence as their Magna Carta.
“It was a message sent to Rome more than 700 years ago but today its most important lines are a clarion call for all of us who wish to leave the European Union: ‘We fight not for riches nor honour nor glory
but for freedom alone which no honest man surrenders but with his life’.”
Former Liberal Democrat Leader Ming Campbell, who is heading the European Movement in Scotland’s Remain Campaign, will urge younger Scots to turn out and vote.
Polling suggests the younger generation are more pro-EU than older Scots - but the latter group is more likely to vote.
Lord Campbell will tell audience in Edinburgh tonight: “I say to my generation, you have benefitted from decades of peace, prosperity and security that are down to the existence of the European Union. Our younger people know this and have benefitted from the single market and the right to travel, study and work freely throughout the European Union.
“EU membership has also delivered jobs and investment into Scotland, with over 330,000 Scottish jobs linked with our exports to the EU, benefitting many of our young people.
“To our older people I say, think of your children and grandchildren when casting your vote, and what kind of world you want to bequeath to them. And to our younger people I say, register to vote and if you are away, register for a postal vote.
“This referendum could be decided on how many younger people turn out on 23rd June. Don’t let yourselves be robbed of the chance for peace and prosperity.”