Scottish independence: Struan Stevenson discusses open letter
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Plans for a Borders Commission to examine how passport control checks at Gretna “might favourably benefit Scotland” will be discussed at the party’s conference next month. The motion, lodged by the Meadows Morningside and Hawick and District SNP branches, calls for a “Regional Development plan” for the creation of “International Border Gateways”.
The motion states: “To aid this Conference supports a Regional Development Plan for the International Border Gateways between an Independent Scotland and England with the intention of maximising economic, social and demographic benefits to the Borders and an Independent Scotland.
“To this end Conference proposes that the SNP adopt as policy, the establishment of an expert Borders Commission to advise on how borders with the rest of the UK and the EU, EEA, or EFTA (or any other trade organisation we may wish to join), might most favourably benefit Scotland as it transitions to independence, in preparation for a renewed White Paper.”
The motion adds that the South of Scotland has “long been neglected and under-served” by the UK Government both economically and socially.
It stresses that a “well-formulated and enacted” plan for the region would allow it to become a hub for wealth creation.
But Donald Cameron MSP, Scottish Conservative Constitution spokesperson, said: “These unrealistic proposals just go to show how completely out of touch the SNP is.
“By claiming that a hard border at Berwick will benefit Scotland, they are blatantly ignoring the hundreds of thousands of jobs in Scotland which rely on the UK single market.
“None of these proposals are supported by either evidence or valid arguments.”
The border argument is a highly tense issue in the Scottish independence campaign causing divisions amongst MSPs.
Meanwhile, the SNP’s blueprint for a breakaway Scotland to join the EU would also lead to a hard customs border with England.
This is despite Scotland’s trade with the rest of the UK being worth more than three times that with the EU and 565,000 Scottish jobs are directly linked to the UK’s internal market.
It comes as Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove insisted the UK Government would not stand in the way of an independence referendum.
However, he said there would need to be clear evidence that it was the “settled will” of Scottish people.
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Mr Gove said yesterday: “The principle that the people of Scotland, in the right circumstances, can ask that question again is there.
“I just don’t think that it is right and the public don’t think it is right, to ask that question at the moment.
“If it is the case, that there is clearly a settled will in favour of a referendum, then one will occur.”
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