Oh dear, Nicola! Sturgeon ripped apart over claim border with England will be ‘seamless’

Scottish independence: Struan Stevenson discusses open letter

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A resolution has been submitted by Nat MSPs Christine Grahame and Emma Harper alongside the party’s West Dumfries and Annandale and Eskdale branches which concerns how an independent Scotland would operate with the rest of Britain in trade and immigration terms. The resolution, which is included in the party’s draft agenda for the conference, will ask members to agree that the SNP led-Scottish Government and UK Government “should strive to reach an agreement which will allow for seamless trade between Scotland and the rest of the UK.”

The resolution also calls on SNP members to agree the Scottish Government will “enter into negotiations” with the UK Government and European Union over “customs and freedom of movement arrangements between Scotland and the UK” after separation. 

It also asks Nat members to recognise that “trade between Scotland and the UK and trade between Scotland and the EU and EFTA is important to Scotland’s economy.”

The resolution adds: “Conference reaffirms the importance of Scotland taking a progressive, outward-looking and international approach to relations with all nations under independence, particularly with our closest neighbours, the UK and EU and EFTA in line with every normal independent country in the world.”

But Pamela Nash, chief executive of Scotland in Union, said: “No amount of spin can hide the fact that the SNP is prepared to build a border between our friends and families in England.

“As well as dividing communities, this would have a devastating impact on trade.

“Our trade with the rest of the UK is three times higher than every country in the EU combined.

“And the deep integration of the UK economy, domestic market, common currency and regulatory system means six times as much trade as simply living next door to England.

“Rather than build a border that will divide communities and threaten jobs and livelihoods, as part of the UK we can grow our economy and bring people together.”

The border argument is a contentious 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 after Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said the Scottish Border was “little more than a sign”.

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In an essay released prior to the October Tory Conference, he added: “I live close to the Scotland/England border and it’s little more than a sign that people pass daily, with no thought of moving from one country to another.

“Under the SNP, a hard border would be required with all the associated paperwork, an impediment to business and individuals. 

“With more that unites us than divides us as people, that would be a heartbreaking situation and one most Britons want to prevent.”

The second SNP Conference of 2021 takes place next month. 

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