Scottish independence: EU advice disputed

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TORY leader Ruth Davidson earned a Holyrood rebuke today after accusing of Alex Salmond of “misleading” Scots over EU membership .

Ms Davidson told MSPs today at First Minister’s Questions that she said fresh legal advice which showed that the SNP’s claims that Scotland will remain inside the EU and re-negotiate its terms of membership after a Yes vote is “not lawful.”

Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson.   Picture Ian Rutherford

Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson. Picture Ian Rutherford

She added: “The First Minister misled the Scottish public on EU legal advice.”

But she was forced to withdraw this after having her knuckles wrapped by Holyrood Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick.

Mr Salmond had claimed that Scotland secured legal advice on joining the EU in a TV interview two years ago - but the Scottish Government was forced to admit this did not exist. It has since been secured.

The Tory leader said she had secured a fresh submission from Jean-Claude Piris, a former director general of legal services of the the EU council.

“It would not be legally correct to try and use Article 48 to admit Scotland as a member of the Europeam Union” the submission states.

Ms Davidson added: “I’m happy to put this submission intO the public doman today so everyone can see in black and white a leading European expert saying the SNP’s plan is not lawful.”

But Mr Salmond insisted that UK Government advisor James Crawford and the pro-union Better Together “star academic” Jim Gallagher both backed SNP claims that an accelerated EU membership could be secured for Scotland.

Mr Salmond added: “These are significant and important because I’m citing people who are either in the Better Together campaign or paid by the Uk Government.

“If even they are saying that then I think the reasonable position that people will adopt is that it is a profound and important contribution to the political debate.”


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