Scottish independence: McConnell Highlands warning

FORMER First and Deputy First Ministers Jack McConnell and Jim Wallace have claimed that a Yes vote would harm the economy of the Highlands and Islands as the two politicians made a campaign visit to the region.

Former Labour first minister Jack McConnell and former deputy first minister Jim Wallace. Picture: Julie Bull
Former Labour first minister Jack McConnell and former deputy first minister Jim Wallace. Picture: Julie Bull

The former Labour and Lib Dem leaders suggested that key sectors such as defence and tourism as well as public services would face uncertainty if Scotland left the UK.

Sign up to our Politics newsletter

Lord McConnell and Lord Wallace - the serving Advocate General for Scotland - made the claims during a visit to Inverness today, when they also addressed a rally of the anti-independence better Together campaign.

Lord McConnell said: ”Scotland has led the way in health improvement with the smoking ban, fashioned some of the most progressive homelessness, mental health and education policy in the modern world, and we have the powers to keep making policies to suit our needs. This gives us the best of both worlds.

“The Highlands and Islands has a strong and growing tourism economy, its food, textile products and engineering skills are exported across the globe. These industries, like all industries, need a climate of certainty.”

Lord Wallace said: “This region has a long tradition serving the defence needs of the whole UK. It cannot make any sense for this area to back the break-up of the UK, as that can only lead to a lesser role in defence in the future.

“No one can really believe that defence for Scotland’s five million people can support as many jobs as serving sixty million people in the UK. With devolution, we get the best of both worlds.”