Politics Explained

Has Brexit made Scottish independence more unlikely?

Polls suggest that a second referendum would likely see Scotland vote to leave the union but in practice, now Britain is not part of the single market or customs union, it could be far more difficult to implement, argues Sean O’Grady

Friday 30 April 2021 22:05
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<p>Nicola Sturgeon campaigning in South Queensferry</p>

Nicola Sturgeon campaigning in South Queensferry

N

icola Sturgeon can at least be given credit for admitting that, for an independent Scotland, there will be a border with the rest of the UK and that it might not be as it exists today: invisible apart from the “Welcome to Scotland” signs on the motorway.

As first minister and leader of the Scottish National Party she could hardly do other than recognise the obvious, and she has: “This is the frankness that certain sections of the media will seek to stir up trouble on – I am not denying that we would need to confront and resolve the issues of being in the European Union for the border between Scotland and England.”

The specifics of the border was not much of an issue in the 2014 referendum, because the assumption then (and one reason why independence was rejected) was that either the whole of the UK or Scotland independently would all be part of the EU single market and customs union, and thus trade in goods and service could continue unimpeded (though possible changes to the currency and other changes would complicate matters).

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