Orkney Islands 'to explore leaving UK and Scotland' after Brexit

Majority of councillors back motion for investigation into 'greater autonomy or self-determination'

Samuel Osborne
Monday 02 January 2017 19:35
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The councillor who drafted the motion says an opinion poll could be carried out to determine how the islanders feel about the issue
The councillor who drafted the motion says an opinion poll could be carried out to determine how the islanders feel about the issue

The Orkney Islands are reportedly exploring options that could see them declare independence from the UK and Scotland following the Brexit vote.

A majority of Orkney's councillors have backed a motion demanding an investigation into "greater autonomy or self-determination" and the possibility of a second independence referendum for Scotland, The Daily Telegraph reports.

The motion, passed by 13 of the Orkney Islands Council's 21 members, demands the chief executive put together a report considering "whether the people of Orkney could exercise self-determination if faced with further national or international constitutional changes."

It adds: "Or indeed to decide if more autonomy might be beneficial for the wellbeing of Orkney."

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The motion also requests the report look at what would be needed to "consider such opportunities for greater autonomy or self-determination" from the UK and Scottish governments.

Graham Sinclair, the councillor who drafted the motion, told the paper: "I think the islands are more significantly different — both historically and culturally — from the rest of the country."

Mr Sinclair said the motion was "a very preliminary shot" and was designed "to consider whether there is the possibility for constitutional changes."

He said an opinion poll could be carried out to determine how people living on the islands feel about the issue.

A 2013 poll found only eight per cent of islanders supported leaving Scotland in the event of independence.

The Orkney Islands are situated off the north of Scotland and were ruled along with the Shetland Islands by Norway. They came under the control of the Scottish Crown in 1472.

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